Rio Tinto said it will build the largest solar power plant in Canada to provide up to 25% of its Diavik diamond mine’s electricity during closure work that will run until 2029. The miner anticipates the plant will be fully operational in the first half of 2024.
The solar power plant, which will generate 4,200 megawatt-hours of electricity annually, will significantly expand Diavik’s renewable energy generation. The mine, located about 200 kilometres south of the Arctic Circle in the Northwest Territories, already features a wind-diesel hybrid power facility that has a capacity of 55.4 MW.
“Through its wind-diesel hybrid power facility, Diavik is already a leader in cold climate renewable technology and this important project reinforces our dedication to reducing our carbon footprint. I would like to thank both the Government of the Northwest Territories and the Government of Canada for their support to deploy this [solar power] project,” said President and Chief Operating Officer of the Diavik Diamond Mine Angela Bigg.
The solar facility will be equipped with bi-facial panels, which will not only generate energy from direct sunlight, but also from the light that reflects off the snow that covers Diavik for most of the year. It will cut diesel consumption at the site by approximately 1 million liters per year and reduce emissions by 2,900 tonnes of CO2 equivalent.
Diavik is working with the Government of the Northwest Territories and community partners to determine how its renewable energy infrastructure can best benefit the region following closure. Rio Tinto said commercial production of Diavik will end in the first quarter of 2026.
Source: Rio Tinto