A new 2.3MW solar tracking deployment at Norton Gold Fields’ Binduli Operations in Western Australia is the first of its kind in Australia and signifies a leap forward in Australia’s renewable energy landscape.
Norton Gold Field’s $278 million Binduli North heap leach project, located 10 kilometres west of Kalgoorlie, went online last year.
The project, which created 300 jobs during construction and will employ 200 workers during production, has an estimated 10-year life span and is expected to produce an average of 75,000 ounces of gold per year.
Once the heap leach facility is operating at full capacity, the company will rank among the top 10 gold producers in the WA.
ResourcesWA and CrossBoundary selected solar tracking technology for the project, a solution which provides a unique ability to unlock low-cost solar in the Australian market.
Solar tracking is usually used for utility-scale deployments, representing 90 per cent of all new solar deployments.
Combining solar tracking with a rapid, low-labour installation process and redeployable design makes this solution highly desirable to for mining operation.
Cambridge Energy founder and CEO Tom Miller said the goal is to make solar technology more flexible and affordable.
“Prefabrication is the key to achieving this, as it simplifies the supply chain and the deployment process, while also minimising ground disturbance during deployment.”
The NOMAD technology uses ground anchors to fix the solar field in place, simplifying installation and minimising groundwork disturbance.
This technique avoids the need for steel piles and concrete, reducing installation time and cost, while also simplifying site rehabilitation upon retiring of the solar field.
ResourcesWA, who has played a key role in introducing the technology to Australia, says the successful deployment at Binduli exemplifies its suitability for meeting the unique needs of mining operations.
Andre Garnaut, Director of ResourcesWA said: “We have been amazed at the speed of installation and ease of handling of the NOMAD technology.
“We hope this project with Norton Gold Fields sets a new standard for the future of solar utilisation in Australia that’s cost-effective and socially responsible.”