Solar project to power BHP

Construction has begun at one of the world’s largest off-grid mining solar and battery energy storage systems to power BHP Nickel West’s Mt Keith and Leinster operations.  The Northern Goldfields Solar Project, which was announced last year, includes a 27.4-megawatt (MW) solar farm at Mt Keith, a 10.7 MW solar farm and a 10.1 MW battery at Leinster, which will be integrated into TransAlta’s Northern Goldfields remote power grid.

The project will replace power currently supplied by diesel and gas, and will help BHP Nickel West reduce scope 2 emissions at its Mt Keith and Leinster operations by 12 per cent, resulting in an estimated reduction of 54,000 tonnes of carbon each year.  The project is expected to produce its first solar power by November this year.

The construction phase of the project is set to create more than 100 direct and indirect jobs in the Goldfields and Perth regions.  The project aims to employ Traditional Owners from the Tijwarl Native Title Holders following TransAlta’s contractor, juwi, awarding Cundaline Resources with the primary civil contractor role on the project.

TransAlta also unveiled it had entered into an agreement with BHP to identify potential wind sites for a 40 to 50MW wind farm, which would connect to TransAlta’s northern grid and reduce scope 2 emissions at BHP’s Mt Keith and Leinster operations by an estimated further 30 per cent.



Liontown roars towards earlier Kathleen Valley production

Liontown Resources is rapidly progressing its Kathleen Valley lithium project near Leinster in Western Australia with first production forecast to begin a year ahead of schedule.  A pre-feasibility study in October 2020 had first production scheduled for 2025, however a definitive feasibility study (DFS) has brought that estimate forward to the first half of 2024.

According to a statement from Liontown, the DFS confirms the potential to develop a state-of-the-art, second-generation lithium-tantalum mining and processing operation at Kathleen Valley.  Liontown chief executive officer and managing director Tony Ottaviano said the completion of the DFS marked a major step towards the company becoming a substantial global lithium producer and lays very strong foundations for its aspirations to become a world-class battery materials company.

“This is a major new Australian resource project, in a future-facing commodity, that we believe will deliver exceptional long-term returns for our shareholders, all of our other key stakeholders and the state of Western Australia.”

The Kathleen Valley lithium project is located on four granted mining licences and one mining licence application, approximately 680 kilometres north-east of Perth and 400 kilometres north of Kalgoorlie in the north-eastern Goldfields of Western Australia.

The project is readily accessible by sealed highways which connect with mineral exporting ports at both Geraldton and Esperance.