AngloGold Ashanti unveiled a groundbreaking renewable energy project at the Tropicana Gold Mine, marking a significant milestone in its mission to reduce carbon emissions. The company’s subsidiary, AngloGold Ashanti Australia Ltd, has partnered with Pacific Energy to construct and operate a massive 62MW wind and solar generation capacity at the mine, aiming to integrate renewable energy into its power supply and reduce gas consumption.
AngloGold Ashanti’s CEO, Alberto Calderon, stressed the importance of addressing climate-related threats and the company’s commitment to sustainability: “We have a responsibility to proactively identify and address current and future climate-related threats. This renewables project at Tropicana is another important step forward for us, not only in realizing our overall climate objectives but also improving our overall security of energy supply and significantly reducing the site’s natural gas consumption.”
Situated approximately 330 kilometers east-northeast of Kalgoorlie in Western Australia, the Tropicana Gold Mine is a prominent open-pit operation with a growing underground mining component. In 2022 alone, the mine produced a remarkable 437,000 ounces of gold. AngloGold Ashanti holds a 70% ownership stake and manages the mine, while Regis Resources Ltd owns the remaining 30%.
AngloGold Ashanti has set ambitious targets to reduce Scope 1 and 2 greenhouse gas emissions by 30% by 2030 through a combination of renewable energy projects and efficiency improvements. The Tropicana project is a significant stride towards achieving these objectives and follows a similar initiative launched at the company’s Geita Gold Mine in Tanzania last year. The Geita project seeks to replace diesel generation with a more environmentally friendly combination of grid power sourced from hydropower and natural gas.
The Tropicana renewable energy solution will leverage a hybrid system of wind and solar power generation, complemented by battery storage. Over the course of the 10-year agreement, this innovative infrastructure is projected to reduce average carbon emissions by more than 65,000 tonnes per year, making a substantial contribution to AngloGold Ashanti’s climate commitments.
Pacific Energy, one of Australia’s foremost sustainable energy producers, will be responsible for constructing and operating the renewables project under a 10-year Power Purchase Agreement (PPA). The capital costs associated with constructing the renewables infrastructure will be incorporated into the ongoing power costs charged to the Tropicana joint venture partners, ensuring that emissions reduction targets are maximized while maintaining current power costs.
The decarbonization journey at Tropicana began in 2016 when diesel generation was replaced with natural gas generation, facilitated by the extension of the natural gas pipeline. The integration of renewable energy represents the logical next step in the mine’s sustainability efforts.
The Tropicana renewable energy infrastructure will encompass four 6MW wind turbines, boasting a hub height of 130 meters and a rotor diameter of 165 meters, making them the largest wind turbines in Australia. Additionally, a 24MW photovoltaic (PV) solar plant consisting of approximately 44,100 panels with single-axis tracking will be installed. A 14MW battery storage system will provide crucial backup support to the wind and solar renewable energy generation. Together, these measures are expected to achieve an impressive 50% reduction in overall natural gas consumption, positioning this facility as the largest off-grid gas-wind-solar with battery storage project in the Australian resources sector.
Construction of the project is slated to commence in the second half of this year, with completion anticipated in early 2025.
Pacific Energy, the owner and operator of the existing gas-fired power station at Tropicana, is widely recognized as a leading producer of sustainable distributed energy in Australia. With 48 power generation sites across the country and a contracted capacity of nearly 700MW, the company is at the forefront of the renewable energy transition.