Resources, Energy - Rio Tinto Goes Solar
Rio Tinto wants to build a 34-megawatt solar energy facility to power its its new $2.6 Billion Koodaideri iron ore mine in Western Australia's Pilbara region.
"This will really set out our road map for substantial decarbonisation in the business," said Rio Tinto iron ore chief executive Chris Salisbury.
The proposed AU$144 Million plant near Newman would be Rio Tinto's forst foray into solar as such and would compliment a lithium-ion battery system in Tom Price that will help power the company's entire Pilbara network.
"Apart from reducing emissions, obviously these projects have a financial return," said Mr. Salisbury. "So it is possible to reduce emissions at the same time as ensuring we remain an efficient operation as well.
"We are investigating additional renewable energy options in the Pilbara, as well as other opportunities to reduce emissions across our entire global portfolio, building on the 43 per cent reduction in absolute greenhouse gas emissions since 2008," said Salisbury.
Some are welcoming the move, even though the emissions reduction will be small compared with the miner's overall carbon footprint.
"It's 34 megawatts out of a total power system in the Pilbara of about 450 megawatts on the grid system and another 1200 megawatts from the mining companies, so it's a small step, but a welcome one," said Peter Newman, a professor in sustainability at Curtin University and lead Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change author. "It's 34 megawatts out of a total power system in the Pilbara of about 450 megawatts on the grid system and another 1200 megawatts from the mining companies, so it's a small step, but a welcome one."