Pan African says it has entered into an engineering, procurement and construction (EPCM) agreement with juwi South Africa to construct its 9.975 MW solar photovoltaic plant at Evander Mines in the country.
Construction will commence in the March quarter of 2021, with first power expected in the September quarter of 2021, it said.
Part of the international juwi Group, juwi South Africa is one of the world’s leading renewable energy companies. To date, juwi South Africa has built six utility scale solar plants totalling 207 MW under the South African Government’s Renewable Energy Independent Power Producers Programme, Pan African said.
The Evander Mines solar photovoltaic plant will utilise bi-facial module technology to maximise its yield and it will be constructed on previously disturbed land owned by Evander Mines, Pan African said. The plant will provide an estimated 30% of Elikhulu’s power requirement during daylight hours and is expected to materially reduce electricity costs at this operation. Furthermore, the Evander solar photovoltaic plant is expected to enhance the reliability of the power supply during daylight hours and result in an expected CO2 saving of more than 26,000 tonnes in its first year of its operation.
Elikhulu has capacity to process an estimated 1 Mt/mth of tailings with a projected output of approximately 55,000 oz/mth of gold.
The total cost of the Evander solar photovoltaic plant is ZAR140 million ($9.4 million), with a calculated payback on this investment of less than five years, Pan African said.
“This solar photovoltaic plant further reduces Elikhulu’s environmental impact and is just one of a number of initiatives in the group’s commitment to producing high-margin ounces in a safe and efficient manner, while investing in local communities and minimising the environmental impact of operations,” it added.
Pan African is also assessing the merits of expanding the Evander Mines solar photovoltaic plant in due course to provide for a clean energy feed to its Egoli project, and of a similar solar photovoltaic plant at the group’s Barberton Mines operations.
Pan African CEO, Cobus Loots, said: “The Evander Mines solar photovoltaic plant is integral to the group’s purpose of ‘Mining for a Future’ and pursuing ESG initiatives that go beyond compliance. This plant will be one of the first of its kind in the South African mining space. We look forward to commissioning the operation during 2021, on budget and on schedule.”