NT vanadium mine to tap solar + redox battery storage for energy supply

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Northern Territory mine to tap solar power plus vanadium redox battery storage for energy supplies, the latest miner to turn to renewables.

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One day after the Coalition released its renewables-lite northern Australia development White Paper, Perth-based company Energy Made Clean has announced a ground-breaking new deal to supply a solar plus storage system to power a vanadium mining project in the Northern Territory.

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EMC said on Friday it had signed a non-binding MOU with strategic metals company TNG, to evaluate and implement energy supply options for its 100%-owned Mount Peake Vanadium Project, including the potential supply of a solar power system suitable to run with (appropriately given what they are mining) a Vanadium Redox Battery (VRB) system.

The agreement builds on TNG’s recent MOU with leading vanadium battery manufacturer for the supply of the Vanadium Redox Battery (VRB) to power the mine site and refinery at the Mt Peake Project.

The deal exemplifies the kind of exciting renewable energy opportunity the Abbott government failed to champion in its White Paper yesterday: the use of Australian-designed and made clean energy technology to power remote Australian mining operations owned by an Australian resources company that is producing “strategic metals” that could play a key role in the global battery storage boom.

And it’s not the only one. In Weipa, Northern Queensland, First Solar and Tag Pacific are converting a Rio Tinto bauxite mine to solar, and in WA Sandfire Resources is adding 10.6MW of solar PV and “6MW” of battery storage to its off-grid copper mine 900kms north-east of Perth.

Meanwhile, ARENA last year backed development of a 1MW portable solar-hybrid plant, designed by construction company Laing O’Rourke, to cater to mining and other short- and medium-term ventures.

The WA-based TNG says it is currently in the final stages of its advanced Feasibility Study for the project at Mount Peake, which comprises one of the largest undeveloped vanadium-titanium-iron resources in the world and has the potential to be a top-10 global producer of strategic metals.

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According to TNG, a solar system paired with a VRB storage system could cut power costs “significantly” at its mining and refinery operations – which, as you can see in the video below is situated very near to an established gas plant – while also showcasing the use of Vanadium Redox batteries in remote areas.

EMC, meanwhile, is fast gaining a reputation as a trusted Australian supplier of remote and off-grid solar and storage solutions, such as the 640kWh battery system plus 325kW of solar on WA’s Thevenard Island.

The hybrid mini grid – designed and built entirely by EMC – was launched in December 2015 to supply the power needs of an eco-tourism resort on WA’s northwest Pilbara Coastal region, and has since achieved renewable penetration of more than 90 per cent.

Just last week, EMC was awarded the contract to supply the 1.1MHh battery system for the large-scale community energy storage trial set to go ahead in Western Australia’s Alkimos Beach, in conjunction with WA electricity gentailer Synergy, and property developers Lendlease and Landcorp.

The Mount Peake Feasibility Study is on track to be completed in the next few weeks, with the results anticipated to be announced in July.

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