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Rio Tinto decarbonises bauxite processing

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Rio Tinto has approved a new 12.4MW solar farm and 8.8MVa/2.1MWh of battery storage to provide renewable energy for the Amrun bauxite operations near Weipa in Queensland (pictured).

The 12.4MW solar farm and battery storage are part of Rio Tinto’s global decarbonisation strategy and ongoing efforts to reduce emissions at its Pacific bauxite, alumina and aluminium operations, acording to the company.

They are expected to reduce Amrun’s diesel electricity consumption by 37 percent and annual CO2-equivalent emissions by 14,000 tonnes, and will add to the existing 5.6MW of solar and 4MWh of battery power built for Rio Tinto’s Weipa operations and the local electricity network since 2015.

Rio Tinto Weipa Operations General Manager Shona Markham said: “The Amrun solar farm will be one of three Weipa Operations solar stations, which will together provide 18MW of solar generation capacity to our mines and the Weipa town.

“This project helps us make inroads towards our ambitions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from our operations.”

Aggreko has been contracted to build, own, and operate the solar farm to supply renewable electricity to the mine operations, in addition to its current contract to supply electricity generated from an existing diesel power station.

Early works have begun on the new solar farm, which is expected to be operational by early 2025, providing about 21 gigawatt hours of renewable power annually.

Combined with the existing Weipa renewable power generation network, the solar farms will reduce Weipa Operations’ diesel consumption by an estimated 10 million litres per year and lower its annual greenhouse gas emissions by about 28,000 tonnes – the equivalent of taking more than 6,000 internal combustion engine passenger cars off the road.

Rio Tinto’s Weipa Operations in Far North Queensland includes three bauxite mines, processing facilities, shiploaders, an export wharf, two ports, power stations, a rail network and ferry terminals.

Rio Tinto: Weipa employees

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