Even gold mines can still improve their operations by embracing new technologies. In Zimbabwe, there is always an abundance of sunlight throughout most of the year. Harnessing this solar power can make a gold mine far more efficient, increasing its profit potential.
Solar Power and Gold Mining
On paper, it may not seem as if solar power would be beneficial to gold mining operations. It is not a common concept, which could explain some of the associated confusion. Caledonian Mining is confident their plan will have some success. The company succeeded in raising $13 million for its solar plant, to be located at the Blanket operation.
Rolling out this solar plant will require a lot of work and planning. Currently, the plan is to do this across three stages. Each stage will add 6.55MW to the mine’s electricity capacity. When everything is said and done, the electricity generated will be able to feed some of the plant’s operations, if not power them altogether.
The main reason for exploring this option is to meet peak demand at Blanket. During those times, it is better to have an extra source of electricity. Tapping into solar power to achieve this goal makes a lot of sense, given the climate in Zimbabwe. Should any excess power remain, it will be dispatched onto the grid. Caledonian Mining aims to bank this excess power or obtain some sort of “credit”.
Subsidizing such a new venture is a costly endeavor. Sources close to the matter claim it will cost $13 million to tap into solar power. All of this money has been obtained through a successful share sale. There is always interest in buying gold mining company shares, and Caledonian Mining is a major player in the industry.
A Boon for Zimbabwe
This news is interesting for two specific reasons. First of all, it shows that gold mining operations – in certain locations – may thrive when tapping into renewable energy sources. It is not a common trend yet, so this experiment will help others determine if they should pursue a similar venture. That is, assuming the accommodation allows for it.
Second, it is great news for Zimbabwe itself. The country primarily imports electricity from South Africa. While this agreement works, tapping into solar power can make a very big difference. As such, more solar energy-related farms may begin popping up throughout the nation.