Probably the most challenging aspect of mining in remote locations in Africa is the ready availability of power. Often the challenging terrain makes overhead line transmission extremely costly and almost impossible to access quickly for the mining operation. Costly diesel generation systems quickly eat into capital and the transportation of fuel supplies also brings along its own logistical nightmares. In recent time there has been a huge upswing in the adoption of renewable energy sources by mining companies and through innovative financing models offered by the independent power providers (IPPs), the mines are able to positively affect their cash position on energy investments.
A recent article by Dr. Thomas Hillig states, “In the last few years, more and more mining companies have adopted wind and solar systems to reduce their energy costs at remote off-grid mines. In the first phase, the focus was on the integration capabilities as miners were afraid that adding intermittent renewables such as solar and wind could affect the reliability of the power supply and even lead to production losses. In various micro grid applications, renewables combined with diesel, HFO, or gas have proven to provide reliable power supply to remote mines. For almost all mines, the integration of renewables will have a positive impact on their energy cost position. Mining companies do not have to invest their own money; independent power providers (IPPs) invest in the renewable energy infrastructure and sell electricity to mines through power purchase agreements (PPAs).” Read the full article here.
With over two-thirds of the African population still without access to electricity, power on the continent will remain a problem for the foreseeable future. However there is already a move for the mining companies to provide local communities with the excess power that is generated via their onsite renewable programme. This in itself is providing a platform for positive change for those people who had little or no chance of accessing the benefits of electricity in the short to medium term.
This African mining upswing in renewable energy and especially solar, has necessitated a fresh look at the requirements for mounting structures and cable supports for the PV systems. Difficult terrain, challenging logistics and a drive for fast installation has resulted in Strutfast developing their innovative ground mount solar support system. Modularised for ease of transportation and installation, the system integrates seamlessly with the Strutfast cable management products. All of our products are specifically designed with the challenges of the African mining sector in mind and our long legacy of successful mining projects on the continent are a testament to our experience and capabilities. Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org for more details.