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Rio Tinto to begin building solar farms at Gove this month

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International metals company Rio Tinto has announced that it will build two new 5.25 megawatt solar farms on its leases in the Northern Territory’s Gove Peninsula.

In a statement on Wednesday morning (Australian time), Rio said the solar farms will be in Gumatj and Rirratjingu country, following agreement with traditional owner groups on the facilities’ location.

The solar farms will be built, owned and operated by Aggreko for Rio Tinto for up to ten years, with construction to begin this month and scheduled for completion in early 2025. 

“The Gove solar project is part of our shared vision with Traditional Owners to leave a positive legacy for the Gove Peninsula communities after bauxite mining ceases,” said Rio Tinto Gove Operations Acting General Manager Shannon Price.

“We’re excited to work with the Gumatj and Rirratjingu clans to provide an opportunity to secure alternative electricity generation assets on their country and to discuss opportunities to commercialise energy infrastructure in the future.

Rio has mined bauxite at Gove for over four decades, with this expected to be phased out “later this decade”. 

It used to process bauxite into alumina, an operation which ran from 1972 until the Gove refinery was put in care and maintenance in 2014.

It announced in November that dissembling of its former alumina refinery had begun.

According to Rio Tinto, the new 10.5 megawatts of solar energy from the two upcoming farms are expected to reduce the region’s annual diesel consumption by 4.5 million litres a year, or about 20 per cent.

Picture: credit Rio Tinto Gove/Facebook

Further reading

Work disassembling “three Sydney Harbour bridges” of steel begins at former Gove refinery

Rio Tinto doubles down to produce renewable aluminium

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