Initial evaluations are now in process for a dedicated renewable system that will reduce the project's carbon dioxide emissions by more than 20,000t annually and give it sustainable, renewable power at a quarter of the cost of the coal-fired option now available in the country.
GoviEx said the coal-fired power costs are currently forecast to make up about 4% of the total life-of-mine operating costs.
"We are pleased to begin exploring cleaner energy alternatives to power our future development activities in partnership with Windiga," GoviEx exectuvie chairman Govind Friedland said. "The benefits of renewable, lower-cost energy are obvious."
While a timeline for its study was not disclosed, GoviEx said that Windiga's goal is to determine the feasibility of a solution to power Madaouela as well as the surrounding local community through a hybrid power plant with a total installed capacity of at least 20MW. It will combine photovoltaic solar panels and diesel generators.
Pending a favourable result to the partner's work, GoviEx will negotiate an extendable power purchase agreement for the priority supply of electricity for an initial term of 21 years.
Madaouela, which the miner purchased in 2007, is located south-east of Arlit and is considered to be the company's flagship operation.