Orion mulls over renewables for Prieska

Orion Minerals has confirmed a collaboration with juwi Renewable Energies South Africa to examine the possibility of adding a solar and wind hybrid power plant at its Prieska zinc-copper complex in South Africa’s Northern Cape province
Orion mulls over renewables for Prieska Orion mulls over renewables for Prieska Orion mulls over renewables for Prieska Orion mulls over renewables for Prieska Orion mulls over renewables for Prieska

“Investing in a long-term renewable energy solution also makes perfect sense for a long-life production asset such as Prieska,” said Orion CEO Errol Smart

The companies said their initial scope, via subsidiary Repi Trading No 27, will be to assess the feasibility of a 35MW plant within 20km of the mine site. It anticipates the work at this phase will result in information the two can use to outline its long-term dedicated power supply strategy.

"This agreement is in line with our strategy to make best use of our geographic advantage in the semi-arid Northern Cape province of South Africa," managing director and CEO Errol Smart said.

He noted that the region has the highest irradiance levels in the country, with its hot, dry climate, and is also very well-suited for wind farms. The area is a well-established renewable energy generating region already, with 190MW of solar power plants in operation and 240MW of wind power currently under construction near the mine complex.

"This opportunity can only improve our long-term power supply security, while at the same time lessening the burden on the national electricity grid and reducing our carbon and water footprint."

Orion officials said the renewable solution investigations for its flagship Prieska, located 270km south-west of Kimberley, will complement its ongoing bankable feasibility study for the project, with the additional benefit of potentially improving its base case plan of getting its national grid power directly from the Cuprum substation that already exists on-site.

Juwi, part of the international juwi Group, is a participant in the South African government Small Independent Power Producer (IPP) programme; it operates and maintains all of its solar projects on behalf of their owners.