IAMGOLD signs 15-year PPA to buy 15-MWs of solar power for Burkina Faso gold mine

Written By: Stratton Report
March 6, 2017

On March 6, IAMGOLD Corporation announced the signature of a 15-year PPA between its sub, IAMGOLD Essakane SA, and EREN Renewable Energy SA, AREN ENERGY (PTY) Ltd. and Essakane Solar SAS for 15-MWs of solar power for IAMGOLD’s Essakane mine in Burkina Faso.

According to the corporation, Essakane Solar SAS, a local entity created by the project developers, will operate the solar power plant that sells the energy to the Essakane mine, which is jointly owned by IAMGOLD Corporation (90%) and the Government of Burkina Faso (10%). Per IAMGOLD, the mine produces over 400,000 ounces of gold per year.

IAMGOLD stressed that because of a transition to processing harder ore, energy consumption at the Essakane mine has increased from about 14 GWh/month in 2013 to 26 GWh/month in 2015. As a result, IAMGOLD Essakane SA decided to partner with African Energy Management Platform and global renewable energy independent power producer EREN Renewable Energy SA, to construct solar capacity to complement the existing 57MW heavy fuel oil (“HFO”) power plant.

Per the corporation, in the project’s first phase, 15 MWp of solar capacity would be built and the hybridization of IAMGOLD Essakane SA’s HFO power plant will allow savings of approximately six million liters of fuel.

President and CEO of IAMGOLD Steve Letwin noted:

Hybrid power systems enable energy-intensive industries, such as mines, to reduce fuel consumption, decrease energy costs, protect against fuel price volatility, as well as improve their social and environmental footprint by cutting greenhouse gas emissions and boosting local employment. This 15 MWp solar project may only be the beginning for our Essakane mine, but IAMGOLD is already well on its way to increase the proportion of renewables to 15% of its total energy needs within three to five years.  Switching power generation to renewables has been on IAMGOLD’s agenda for several years as evidenced by the 5MW solar power plant that was installed in 2014 at the Company’s Rosebel Gold Mine in Suriname.