Nevada Copper Corp. is pleased to announce that it has entered into an agreement with NV Energy to conduct a study of the potential to develop a solar energy generation project on Nevada Copper’s privately-owned land (“Solar Study”). This land is adjacent to the Company’s proposed Pumpkin Hollow copper development project. Additional information on NV Energy is included below.
Nevada Copper expects this Solar Study to be completed within three months. Nevada Copper and NV Energy seek to evaluate, at a scoping level, the feasibility of developing a solar facility on private land owned by Nevada Copper that is available for solar generation facilities. Subject to the results of the Study, the parties would have an opportunity to enter into an agreement to pursue a solar development opportunity. The Solar Study will be done at no cost to the Company, in consideration of which, a 90-day exclusivity period was granted to NV Energy. After the 90-day exclusivity period, if no development agreement has been mutually agreed after good-faith efforts, the Company will be free to solicit interest from other parties.
Giulio Bonifacio, the CEO of Nevada Copper commented on the Agreement: “Nevada Copper is very interested in developing solar energy on its project area, both to supply power to the mine, and to deliver power to the grid. This presents another significant opportunity that is the direct result of the successful passage of the land bill which was signed into law by President Obama and resulted in receipt of all permits to construct a mine.
Additionally the current zoning of these private lands owned by the Company allows for solar development and has no environmental or engineering constraints. The Solar Study will provide site-specific evaluation of the solar potential on our lands at no cost to the Company and will prove beneficial in all discussions regarding future development of the solar development opportunity. Initial investigations indicate the potential for up to 500 MW of solar generation on our project landholdings surplus to our mining needs.”
Nevada Copper successfully collaborated with the City of Yerington and Lyon County in 2015 to implement the purchase of federal lands by the City and in October 2015 the City re-conveyed and deeded 9,145 acres to the Company. The Company’s private land surface rights now total 10,683 acres (43 km2). With the completion of the land conveyance, Nevada Copper continues to advance financing discussions to support development of the Pumpkin Hollow copper project, while also considering other commercial and industrial development opportunities.
Solar power generation was one of the key industrial opportunities afforded by the Company’s acquisition of the large private land package. This is due to both the industrial zoning of the entire site and lack of any requirements for land use permits, as well as the high solar potential of the area. According to data published by the National Renewable Energy Lab (“NREL”), the Pumpkin Hollow project area, has a high level of solar irradiation, 6.5-7.0 kilowatt hours per square meter per day (kW-hr/m2/day).
Depending on the ultimate scope of the Pumpkin Hollow copper mine development, the Company estimates that 2,000-4,000 acres of land adjacent to, and outside of, the area of proposed mine facilities could be utilized for solar generation. Based on the NREL solar irradiation data, a 200 megawatt (MW) typical solar photovoltaic project in the Yerington area would require 1,600-2,000 acres of land. This implies a potential for up 500 MW of solar power development capacity. Evaluation of energy transmission options would be part of the Solar Study. Solar energy generated at the project could be used at the site and/or transmitted into the grid via existing high voltage transmission lines located east of the project area, or via other routes. A power line corridor connecting the project to transmission line is part of the proposed copper project development plan and the Company acquired fee title to that land as part of the land conveyance.
The land proposed for solar development is privately owned by Nevada Copper and has been zoned M-1 Industrial by the City of Yerington. This zoning allows for solar development and has no environmental or engineering constraints for such a development. The land is also close proximity to federal and state highways and other infrastructure. With such a potential solar project development, the Pumpkin Hollow copper project would help enhance renewable energy development in Nevada. The Nevada Copper mine project and an adjacent solar project also could realize mutual benefit with potential shared grid-connection costs. If found to be feasible, a solar power development could be developed as a standalone operation, or as part of the proposed copper mine development at Pumpkin Hollow.