Rio Tinto announces solar farms for Gove Peninsula

Wednesday, 03 July, 2024

Rio Tinto announces solar farms for Gove Peninsula

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

The solar farms will be built on Rio Tinto leases, following agreement with the Gumatj and Rirratjingu Traditional Owner Groups on the location of the facilities. The company said they will help underpin a low-carbon future for the Gove community after mining operations cease, towards the end of the decade.

Aggreko will construct, own and operate the solar farms for Rio Tinto for up to 10 years, beginning construction in July 2024 and with completion scheduled for 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.

“We are working in partnership with the Northern Territory Government and Traditional Owners to ensure a smooth transition of leased land and town assets and infrastructure as Rio Tinto prepares to stop mining at Gove later this decade.

“The solar farms are also part of our ongoing commitment to decarbonise our business. Once operational, they are expected to reduce annual CO2 emissions at our Gove operations by up to 17%.”

When complete, the solar farms are expected to reduce the region’s annual diesel consumption by about 20%, or 4.5 million litres a year, and lower annual carbon emissions by over 12,000 tonnes.

Rio Tinto’s Gove site has been supplying the global aluminium industry with bauxite for more than 40 years. Gove bauxite is shipped internationally as well as being used to supply the Queensland Alumina Limited and Yarwun refineries in Gladstone, Queensland. These refineries produce alumina as feedstock for Rio Tinto’s Australian aluminium smelting operations and for sale on the international market.

Bauxite mining operations in the Gove Peninsula are expected to end later this decade and work is already underway to support the closure of the operation and rehabilitation of the refinery, mine site and tailings facilities.

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