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South Africa’s gold miner Harmony begins work on major solar project

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South African gold miner Harmony Gold will build 30MW of solar power to power its mining operations.

The company has secured the debt financing, as well as a power purchase agreement.

“Not only will these transactions help us to deliver on our environmental and social obligations and undertakings, but they will also de-risk the business and deliver many socio-economic benefits,” chief executive Peter Steenkamp said.

Phase 1 of the solar project comes in the form of a 30MW solar energy plant in the Free State. The three PV plants, each with an installed capacity of 10MW, will provide more than 68 gigawatt hours of electricity to Harmony’s operations in Free State in the first year of operations. This will mitigate an estimated 65,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions.

The plants will provide 1.3 terawatt hours over a 20-year span.The plants were jointly developed by Harmony, advisor and investor Energy Group, and South African engineering company BBEnergy.

The plants will begin to provide energy in March 2023. Harmony Gold’s Free State  operations include the Tshepong gold operations, the Bambanani gold mine, the Unisel gold mine, the Masimong gold mine, and the Joel gold plant.

Harmony Gold plans to go carbon net zero in 2045.

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