Bellevue Gold is shooting for the “holy grail” of cheaper power and “green gold” at the new 200,000oz-a-year Bellevue gold mine in Western Australia, signing a contract with Energy Developments (EDL) to build and operate a hybrid power plant able to meet 80% of the site’s circa-13MW annual power need with renewables.
EDL runs a similar turnkey power facility at Gold Fields’ Agnew gold mine, about 35km south of Bellevue.
Bellevue Gold and EDL are negotiating a power purchase agreement.
“Our pre-production carbon mitigation strategy has been strategic and is world leading,” said Bellevue Gold managing director Steve Parsons.
“It achieves the holy grail of lower emissions and a direct cost reduction in power generation.”
Parsons said maximising renewable energy uptake had been a key design consideration for Bellevue’s nameplate one million tonnes per annum gold plant, with an oversized crushing circuit able to facilitate a processing rate of more than 1.5Mtpa for operational flexibility.
The miner will be able to maximise crushing in peak renewable energy generation periods and generally optimise alignment of the power demand curve with key daytime (solar) and night-time (wind) energy peaks and troughs. It believes it can offset more than 1MW in thermal power generation demand for emissions reduction and cost saving.
Bellevue Gold said it had secured long-lead items for the hybrid power station, to feature wind, solar, battery and thermal generation.
“The power station will enable the mine to have the lowest Scope-1 emissions of any major gold mine in Australia, providing the cleanest power on a greenhouse-gas-per-kilowatt hour basis,” the company said.
“Forecast emissions intensity of 0.15t CO2-equivalent per ounce to 0.2t CO2e/oz will be the lowest of any major Australian gold mine.
“The hybrid power station will enable the project to operate on 100% renewable energy and engines-off mode.
“By reducing greenhouse gas emissions, with a renewable energy power station and undertaking other sustainable initiatives, Bellevue aims to produce carbon-neutral gold, giving the company a major competitive advantage in global investment markets. This also provides potential for the company to seek a premium for the sale of green gold.”