B2Gold, headquartered in Vancouver, Canada, operates the Fekola gold mine in Mali, West Africa. German companies, Suntrace and BayWa r.e., had completed a preliminary study earlier this year evaluating the technical and economic viability of adding a solar battery plant to the Fekola mine site.
Following the study results, B2Gold has approved the $38 million project for implementation in 2019-2020. Upon completion, it will be one of the world's largest off-grid solar battery hybrid systems. Construction is expected to start at the end of 2019 and is scheduled for completion in August 2020.
Suntrace and BayWa r.e. were selected to support B2Gold during implementation of the project as solar experts, providing all relevant technical expertise, such as detailed engineering, procurement support and support during construction and commissioning until completion of the project.
“It is a strong commitment by B2Gold to build such a significant solar-battery plant as a fuel saver for the Fekola mine. This project is a landmark in terms of battery and PV plant size with respect to an off-grid project. We are very proud that B2Gold has entrusted Suntrace/BayWa r.e. as experts to support the implementation of this innovative project,” said Martin Schlecht, COO of Suntrace.
The PV-battery system will be integrated with the existing power plant to ensure safe and reliable operation of the hybrid and allow fuel savings of an estimated 13.1 million liters HFO per year. The solar battery system will significantly cut total energy costs and CO2 emissions. Electricity for the mining site is currently generated exclusively by means of HFO (heavy fuel oil) and diesel generators. The addition of the 30 MW net capacity solar battery plant will allow the mine to shut-off up to three HFO engines during daylight time, with the13.5 MWh battery storage providing the buffer for the irradiation fluctuations.
Suntrace and BayWa r.e., will implement the project together with B2Gold until operation, and will thus make a significant contribution to sustainable power generation for mines in West Africa.