Gold producer Pan African Resources to invest R140m in solar plant for mining site

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Picture: Maxx Solar Energy
Picture: Maxx Solar Energy

Mid-tier gold producer, Pan African Resources, announced on Tuesday it will invest R140 million in the construction of a 9.975MW solar plant which will feed power to its Elikhulu tailings treatment plant and contribute to the reduction of carbon emissions.

The building of the facility will commence in the first quarter of next year, with first power expected in the third calendar quarter.

"The Evander Mines solar photovoltaic plant will provide an estimated 30% of Elikhulu’s power requirement during daylight hours and is expected to materially reduce electricity costs at this operation," the company said in a statement.

Energy from the project will enhance the reliability of electricity supply, with an expected carbon saving of more than 26,000 tons in its first year of its operation. Elikhulu is a automated plant and processes 1.2 million tonnes of tailings per month from slime dams at Kinross, Leslie/Bracken and Winkelhaak.

"This plant will be one of the first of its kind in the South African mining space. We look forward to commissioning the operation during 2021, on budget and on schedule," said CEO Cobus Loots.

The mining sector, which is one of the biggest consumers of electricity has borne the brunt of the country's unstable power supply, with companies increasingly looking at self generation in a bid to reduce reliance on Eskom. The Evande solar plant will be built by juwi South Africa, a subsidiary of  juwi Renewable Energies.

Pan African Resources said it was also assessing the possibility of expanding the Evander Mines solar photovoltaic plant to provide clean energy to its other operations, the Egoli project and the Barberton Mines. 

The firm expects to produce approximately 97,000 ounce of gold for the six months to end of  December 2020, and is on track to meet its production guidance of approximately 190,000 ounce, for the 2021 financial year.  The guidance for 2019 was set at 179,457 ounce.

Its share price on the JSE was up 3.4% at R4.52 in mid-morning trade.

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