ASX listed Resolute Mining has revealed that it will partner with global power generation provider, Aggreko, to develop a new hybrid modular power station at the company’s Syama Gold Mine in Mali.

It said that the new power plant will combine global solar, battery and thermal generation technologies in one integrated power solution ensuring optimal efficiency, reduced energy costs, and positive environmental outcomes.

Work will commence in the current quarter and once fully operational, the new power plant is expected to reduce Syama’s power costs by about 40%. The proposed timeline and associated power saving outcomes are consistent with the assumptions contained in the Syama definitive feasibility study update.

Managing Director and CEO, John Welborn, is pleased to report that the company has secured an innovative low-cost power solution for Syama.

“Identifying and adopting world class technologies to improve our operations is fundamental to achieving Resolute’s ambitions. We are delighted to be partnering with Aggreko in delivering a lower cost and more environmentally friendly power solution for our Syama gold mine.

The new Syama hybrid power solution will lower our power costs at Syama by approximately 40% while significantly reducing our carbon emissions. Having worked together for several years, we know Aggreko is the right partner to support us as we integrate renewable energy into our Syama operation.”

The new Syama hybrid power plant in focus

The Syama power station’s site layout.

Resolute states that the new hybrid modular power station will deliver cost effective, environmentally friendly, capital efficient power and long-term electricity cost savings of up to 40% (relative to Syama’s existing power supply) while reducing carbon emissions by approximately 20%.

The new plant will be delivered in two stages. The first state is expected to be completed in 2020 and will comprise the installation of three new thermal energy modular block generators and a battery storage system.

The new modular block units will be fuelled using a refined heavy fuel oil (IFO 180) and will be installed alongside the existing Syama thermal power plant to allow seamless transition to the new solution.

Replacing existing diesel thermal generation at Syama with modern intermediate fuel oil, the company says that thermal generation is expected to increase efficiency by approximately 30%. The new modular block units will provide 30 MW of power and will incorporate an additional 10MW Ycube battery storage system. The battery will provide spinning reserve displacement.

The second stage will consist of the installation of an additional 10MW modular block in 2022 and the construction of a 20MW solar power system. Once the solar power system is installed, the company states that the 10MW battery storage system will also manage the solar power contribution to the power system and smooth out fluctuations in solar power output to facilitate integration into the hybrid system.

“The solar array is planned to be constructed on the surface of the existing Syama tailings storage facility (TSF) thereby maximising positive environmental outcomes and augmenting Resolute’s rehabilitation programme. The timeline on commencement of stage 2 will depend on the decommissioning of the existing TSF and is expected to be completed, at the latest, by 2023.

“The site infrastructure layout of the new hybrid power plant will include space to accommodate an additional four 10MW modular bock units, enabling the mine to add additional power capacity if needed to support future growth.”

Resolute currently operates a 28MW diesel generated power station at Syama. The Syama power station was originally established by BHP in the 1980s and contains a fleet of diesel generators which have progressively expanded to meet operational requirements.

Current configuration consists of two 5MW Allen units and a series of smaller Caterpillar and Cummins units.

“Resolute has been examining opportunities to reduce Syama’s reliance on diesel, and reduce costs, for many years. The current cost to generate power at Syama ranges from USD$0.20/kWh to USD$0.24/kWh depending on prevailing diesel fuel prices.

“Prior to 2016, Resolute had been working with the government of Mali on a possible high voltage grid connection between the City of Sikasso and Syama.”

The Syama Grid Connection Project (SGCP) contemplated the construction of a 225kV electrical transmission line to provide the mine with reliable and lower cost power. The SGCP was suspended in June 2016 following a comprehensive review of the project and an assessment of possible energy alternatives.

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