OZ Minerals to trial hybrid energy station at Carrapateena

Carrapateena Mine site. Photo: OZ Minerals.
Carrapateena Mine site. Photo: OZ Minerals.

OZ Minerals has unveiled plans to trial a hybrid energy generation power station at the Carrapateena mine site near Port Augusta.

The facility, still in it's primitive stages of planning, is a collaboration project between OZ Minerals and SunSHIFT to develop an off-grid energy solution for remote mining sites.

OZ Minerals CEO Andrew Cole said mining companies can play a critical role in South Australia's energy transition.

"To do this sustainably, we need to develop solutions which enable us to integrate more renewable energy generation on mine sites, whilst ensuring we can manage our demand," he said.

As part of the project, OZ Minerals is looking to partner with industry, research institutions, universities, government, start-ups, business incubators and non-government entities to test, trial and pilot new technologies at the Carrapateena site.

"Our vision is to build the first internationally recognised collaboration hub for renewable energy and demand management related activities on a mine site," Mr Cole said.

The project comes as part of the companies new Energy and Mining Collaboration (EMC) which has been established with six other organisations - Adelaide University, CSIRO, the Department of Energy and Mining, the Rocky Mountain Institute, SunSHIFT and the Tonsley Innovation Precinct.

The EMC brings these organisations together to investigate renewable energy and demand management related activities on a mine site.

The power station will see a trial installation of a 250 kW lithium ion battery, 250 kW solar PV system and 10 kW wind turbine generator, integrated with a diesel power plant, demand management technologies and electric light vehicle charging station.

Minister for Energy and Mining, Dan van Holst Pellekaan said the power plant would provide the South Australian mining sector with a commercial model for the use of solar PV and battery storage at off-grid sites.

The state government is supporting the project with a $1 million grant from the Renewable Technology Fund, to be paid over the project's construction.

"Low cost, reliable power is vital for our mining industry and this power plant will help forge the path to a cheaper and cleaner energy future," Minister van Holst Pellekaan said.

"The remote location of mines often means they operate completely off-grid and are heavily reliant on diesel-fuel powered generators.

"OZ Minerals' power plant will demonstrate the commercial value of a wind and solar PV asset at a remote mine site, and thereby enhancing the feasibility of mines in the development phase."

NSW based company SunSHIFT plan to establish an office in South Australia, to explore developing similar energy solutions for major mines in operation and under construction.

They estimated that more than 250MW of energy is required at mines located at fringe-of-grid or off-grid sites in South Australia.

OZ Minerals' Carrapateena projectis on track for first concentrate production in late 2019, after which the project will ramp up to full production over the following 18 months.

Construction on the trial project will begin in the first half of 2020.