Rio Tinto powers up with solar farms on Gove Peninsula.

By Oliver Townsend Jul 3, 2024
Rio Tinto Commissions Solar Farms on Gove Peninsula.jpegOrginal image from:

Rio Tinto, a global mining company, has taken a significant step towards sustainability by commissioning two new 5.25MW solar farms on the Gove Peninsula in Australia‚Äôs Northern Territory. This initiative is part of Rio Tinto’s commitment to transition to more sustainable power sources as it prepares to decommission mines in the region. The solar farms, located on Gumatj and Rirratjingu country, will play a crucial role in underpinning a low-carbon future for the surrounding community.

Rio Tinto’s Transition to Sustainable Power

For over 40 years, Rio Tinto’s Gove site has been a key supplier of bauxite to the global aluminium industry. As part of its operations, the Gove site provides bauxite to refineries in Gladstone, Queensland, which produce alumina for Rio Tinto’s aluminium smelting operations. As part of the transition towards sustainable practices, Rio Tinto is working closely with the Northern Territory Government and Traditional Owners to ensure a smooth transition of leased land and town assets as mining activities wind down.

Construction of Solar Farms

Rio Tinto has partnered with Aggreko to construct, own, and operate the two solar farms on Gumatj and Rirratjingu country. The construction is set to begin in July 2024, with completion expected by early 2025. These solar farms will have a combined capacity of 10.5MW and are aimed at reducing annual CO2 emissions at the Gove operations by up to 17%. Additionally, the solar farms are projected to reduce the region’s annual diesel consumption by 20% and lower carbon emissions by over 12,000 tonnes annually.

Benefits of the Solar Farms

The Gove solar project is not just a strategic move towards sustainability but also a collaborative effort with the Traditional Owners to leave a positive legacy for the Gove Peninsula communities. By providing alternative electricity generation assets on their country, Rio Tinto aims to support the communities beyond the mining phase. The solar farms are part of Rio Tinto’s commitment to decarbonize its business and contribute to a more sustainable future for the region.

Community Impact and Future Plans

Once operational, the solar farms are expected to provide reliable, affordable, and environmentally sustainable power for the region. By reducing carbon emissions and diesel consumption, Rio Tinto is taking a significant step towards a cleaner energy future. The partnership with Traditional Owners and the Northern Territory Government reflects Rio Tinto’s dedication to responsible mining practices and long-term planning for the region’s future.

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