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BHP to power Olympic Dam with Port Augusta renewable energy


A plan to power half of BHP’s Olympic Dam operations with electricity from renewable sources at Port Augusta is set to be inked between the mining giant and Spanish company Iberdrola.

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BHP says the arrangements, which include power from Iberdola’s Port Augusta Renewable Energy Park, will enable Olympic Dam to reduce its emissions to zero for 50 per cent of its electricity consumption by 2025, based on current forecast demand.

The Port Augusta Renewable Energy Park is set to be Australia’s largest solar-wind hybrid plant and will include 50 wind turbines with a 210 MW capacity and almost 250,000 solar panels with a 107 MW capacity. It is due to be commissioned in the coming months.

BHP will be the primary customer of the new renewable plant.

The supply arrangements will include a retail agreement with Origin Energy, which will facilitate the arrangements.

The announcement follows BHP’s entry into renewable energy agreements for its operations in Western Australia, Queensland and Chile in 2019.

The Olympic Dam copper-gold-uranium mine is about 250km north of Port Augusta and is the biggest mining operation in South Australia.

BHP Olympic Dam Asset President, Jennifer Purdie said the Olympic Dam agreement will contribute to South Australia’s renewable energy ambitions.

“Olympic Dam’s copper has an important role to play to support global decarbonisation and the energy transition as an essential product in electric vehicles and renewable infrastructure,” she said.

“Reducing emissions from our operations will further enhance our position as a sustainable copper producer.”

The deal is expected to take effect from July 2022 and is part of BHP’s broader plan to reduce operational greenhouse gas emissions by at least 30 per cent from 2020 levels by 2030.

South Australian Energy and Mining Minister Dan Van Holst Pellekaan said the arrangements were another step towards cleaner, cheaper electricity for industry, businesses and households.

“The arrangements highlight the good sense of BHP, Iberdrola and other companies getting the generation mix right, including wind and solar farms, grid-scale storage and fast start gas, to provide cleaner and more reliable electricity,” he said.

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