Pan African Resources, a mid-tier African-focused gold producer with a production capacity in excess of 170,000 ounces of gold per year has just presented its Annual Results for the financial year ended June 2022. Pan African Resources’ website says it owns and operates a portfolio of high-quality, low-cost operations and projects located in South Africa. In the presentation, Pan African Resources gave an update on the progress of its solar PV projects at its mines.
Pan African Resources commissioned a 9.9 MW solar PV plant at one of its sites in May 2022, and stated that this is a first by a South Africa mining company. The company has also completed a feasibility study on a 12 MW expansion of the project, bringing the total to 22 MW. It has also recently completed a feasibility study for an 8 MW solar PV plant at one of its other sites, Barberton Mine, and site preparation has already commenced. The Group’s combined 30 MW onsite solar PV is projected to save close to R100 million per year (US$5.7 million) as well as result in a reduction of 80,000t of CO2 emissions per year. Pan African Resources is also making use of rehabilitated land at the mines as well as repurposing old mine hostel sites. Agrivoltaics projects are also being explored in order to maximize the use of land for food production and employment creation initiatives for local communities. Agrivoltaics is an area that has been featured quite often on CleanTechnica and you can read more about this here.
As South Africa’s load-shedding program looks like it will be a constant feature in the near future due to the national utility company’s electricity generation capacity constraints, Pan African Resources has also started feasibility studies on large scale battery storage solutions. To procure more renewable energy, Pan African Resources is also considering electricity wheeling from off-site solar PV or wind energy projects.
The presentation also lists several projects being implemented as part of its Environmental Social and Governance (ESG) program. Water conservation initiatives feature prominently in the presentation and will involve reduced municipal water use via improved efficiencies through reuse and recycling, and the construction of a new 3ML/day water retreatment plant for Evander Mines that is already in progress. These initiatives will result in cost savings of over US$5.6m over a 10-year period.
Pan African Resources says that its ESG program takes the “beyond compliance” approach and includes long term sustainability initiatives for the local communities. An example of this is the Barberton Blueberries agri-project. The blueberries project employs up to 400 people from the local community during the peak harvesting season. Barberton Mines provides the land and water resources. The initial phase covers 15 hectares. A further 30ha has been made available for expansion. The first commercial harvest is already in progress.
The mining sector is one of the largest employers and contributors to GDP in South Africa. The mining sector is also one of the largest power consumers, and South Africa’s grid is mostly coal powered. The increased adoption of large scale solar PV by the mining sector and other heavy consumers will not only save them a lot of money, as seen from the R100 million per year savings from Pan African Resources projected savings, but also save on CO2 emissions.
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