The Syama solar hybrid power plant will combine solar, battery, and heavy fuel oil (HFO) technologies. The project is expected, when constructed, to be the world's largest off-grid, fully integrated hybrid power plant for a stand-alone mining operation. The new power plant will replace the existing historic 28MW diesel-fired power station at Syama and is expected to be fully operational by the end of 2020.
The new Syama power solution will be funded and constructed under an Independent Power Producer (IPP) model whereby Ignite Energy, under the terms of an exclusive power purchase agreement, will be responsible for the design, construction, ownership, funding, and operation of the new solar hybrid power facility on an exclusive basis and will supply power to Resolute on a guaranteed basis subject to a maximum tariff over a term of between 12 and 20 years.
The new solar hybrid power solution is expected to generate savings of up to 40% on the current operating costs of power at Syama. In addition to higher efficiencies of the solar hybrid solution, the replacement of Resolute's existing diesel-generated power plant will reduce reliance on, and exposure to, diesel prices. Resolute stated that the new power facility will also provide significant environmental benefits including lower carbon emissions as a result of solar power generation and the greater efficiencies of integrated battery storage hybrid technology and improved engine technologies.
The new Syama solar hybrid power plant solution will comprise an advanced combination of modern solar photovoltaic (PV) generation, HFO-based generation, and battery-based energy management system. HFO fuel costs can be up to 50% lower than diesel, with larger modern generating units substantially more efficient than Resolute's current engines.
The addition of a component of sustainable environmentally friendly low-cost power from Solar PV, and the use of batteries to provide spinning reserve and manage loads more efficiently, is projected to result in a substantial reduction in Syama power costs.
The development of advanced, efficient and more environmentally friendly power solutions is consistent with Resolute's broader intention to build and operate mines which utilise currently available advanced mature technologies, and which also anticipate and facilitate future developments and improvements. Resolute added that lower cost self-generated power provides significant advantages for Syama, including the opportunity to provide social and economic benefits for the region.
John Welborn, managing director and CEO at Resolute Mining, said: "Resolute aims to be a leader in mining innovation and to promote responsible and sustainable positive economic growth in Africa. The partnership with Ignite Energy to develop a low-cost solar hybrid power solution for Syama will establish the company as a global leader in energy solutions for the mining sector. The project is entirely consistent with our ongoing efforts to use innovation and technology to optimise and enhance our Syama operations and deliver exceptional outcomes for our shareholders.
"The scale of this project will be a world first - a unique combination of solar, battery, and HFO storage and generation capacity which will provide Syama with long-term low-cost electricity with minimal capital requirements. The Syama solar hybrid power plant will deliver long term electricity cost savings of up to 40% at Syama while reducing carbon emissions and providing tangible benefits to local Mali communities.
"The project is a key component of delivering the expected sub-US$750 per ounce all-in-sustaining-cost for the Syama underground gold mine."