Rio Tinto QIT Madagascar Minerals (QMM) and Crossboundary Energy (CBE) have begun work on the solar and wind power plant that will supply the QMM ilmenite mine operations in Fort Dauphin in Southern Madagascar.
CBE will build and operate the renewable energy plant, an independent power producer with whom QMM has signed a 20-year power purchase agreement.
The first unit, an eight-megawatt solar energy facility, will be operational in 2022. The 12-megawatt wind power facility will be completed in 2023; the project includes an 8.25-megawatt lithium-ion battery energy storage system.
Ny Fanja Rakotomalala, president of QMM, described the project as a "key component" for the company's sustainable mine initiative.
"This project is a strategic test, not only in Madagascar but also in the mining industry as a whole, as we have to innovate and rethink our operations to combat climate change and leave a sustainable legacy," Rakotomalala said.
Matt Tilleard, managing partner of CBE, said the project "greatly improves" Madagascar's standing as a regional, renewable energy leader.
"CBE is pleased to take up this technical challenge. We believe large-scale, complex commercial energy projects can be realised here in Madagascar thanks to ample supply of renewable resources, holistic government support, and knowledgeable local implementing partners."
Andy Ramaroson, minister of energy and hydrocarbons of the Republic of Madagascar, described the project as important in the country's developing strategy.
Additionally, Ramaroson said the parties are creating a public-private partnership model "that will position Madagascar as a destination for technological innovation in the field of renewable energy and attract new expertise."