Pan African Resources Commissions 10MW Solar PV Plant at Evander Gold Mines

  • Construction cost of R150 million with payback period anticipated in under 5 years at  current electricity tariffs for this project.
  • The plant will reduced use of fossil fuel-generated power consumption with an expected reduction in C02 emissions saving of some 26,000t/annum, contributing to an estimated 5% reduction in Group emissions.
  • The company is also nearing completion on a feasibility study for a 12MW expansion to power Evander underground organic growth projects – construction to commence during FY2023.
  • An additional 8MW PV plant is under plan to be constructed at Barberton Mines during FY2023, combined with an investigation into operational battery storage solutions.
  • A total of 30MW of solar capacity expected to be in operation by 2024 across the Group’s assets.

Pan African Resources has announced the full commissioning of their 10MW solar PV plant servicing the Elikhulu surface retreatment operations at their Evander Mines. The plant will provide an estimated 30% of Elikhulu’s power requirement plus materially reduce electricity costs.

Cobus Loots, CEO of Pan African, commented: “In addition to CO2 emission reductions, the PV plant has the added benefits of providing a secure and stable power supply, while at the same time ensuring we manage future cost pressures resulting from above-inflation electricity tariffs. Reducing our carbon emissions is just one of the ways Pan African is ‘Mining for a Future’, and forms part of our integrated beyond compliance approach in support of our ESG principles. We will continue with energy independence and decarbonisation initiatives at all our operations, with another 20MW of solar capacity scheduled to be constructed in the next two years.”

Construction and specifications

  • Site area of 20.1 hectares containing 26,640 solar modules (445W Suntech bi-facial
  • polycrystalline modules for improved yield)
  • 50 Sungrow string inverters (250kW each), 4 Sungrow 880V/6.6kV MV transformers
  • 222 STi Norland single axis sun trackers to maximise yield
  • 6kV MV switching station on site, with a 507m long 6.6kV overhead line connecting to the mine’s electrical network.
  • The EPC contract was carried out by juwi Renewable Energies South Africa.

Social impact

During construction the services of 10 local contractor companies were utilised, which provided 202 temporary local job opportunities. The jobs and skills developed during construction will be retained for Evander Gold Mine’s underground renewable energy 12MW expansion phase. Apart from using local contractors for cleaning and maintenance of the solar panels, the Company is investigating implementation of agriculture projects at the facility which are expected to create sustainable local employment opportunities and maximise land utilisation at Evander Gold Mine’s solar PV facility.

Author: Bryan Groenendaal

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