JOHANNESBURG (miningweekly.com) – The green electrons that have begun to flow into the Free State mine shafts of Harmony Gold will reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 65 000 t in the first 12 months of operation, Mining Weekly can today report.
The 30 MW solar photovoltaic plants are well on their way towards delivering 70 GWh of renewable energy a year to the Johannesburg Stock Exchange-listed company’s Free State operations, as part of the first phase of a far-reaching programme to improve Harmony's energy mix and ensure that it achieves carbon zero status by 2045.
"The allocation of capital towards such sustainable projects further demonstrates our commitment to the environment and decarbonisation as we continue 'mining with purpose',” Harmony CEO Peter Steenkamp enthused in a media release on August 15.
While this first phase takes those 65 000 t/y of carbon emissions out of the atmosphere, construction of the second phase of the renewables programme is due to begin in December, for completion in financial year 2025.
Once complete, this will add a further 137 MW of renewable energy and again lower the carbon footprint significantly.
The first 100 MW of the programme's second phase will be largely funded using the R1.5-billion green loan that was secured in June 2022. The remaining 37 MW will be delivered through a power purchase agreement.
“We anticipate an estimated saving of R425-million a year in electricity costs once Phase 1 and 2 are complete,” said Steenkamp.
Harmony’s renewable energy programme is described as being critical to the company as it continues to decarbonise while lowering energy supply risk and alleviating pressure on South Africa's hard-pressed national grid.