Rio Tinto’s Diavik Diamond Mine will build the largest solar power plant in the Canadian territories, with more than 6,600 solar panels that will annually produce approximately 4,200 megawatt hours of carbon-free electricity for the mine.
The solar power plant will provide up to 25% of Diavik’s electricity during the closure works which will last until 2029, when commercial production from the mine is expected to end in early 2026.
The facility will be equipped with bifacial panels that will generate energy not only from direct sunlight, but also from light that reflects off the snow that covers Diavik for most of the year. The project will reduce diesel consumption at the site by approximately one million litters per year and reduce emissions by 2,900 tonnes of CO2 equivalent, which is comparable to eliminating emissions from 630 cars.
President and COO of Diavik Diamond Mine, Angela Bigg, said, “I am thrilled that we can significantly increase our renewable energy production with the largest solar power plant in Canada’s northern territories, located in Diavik Diamond Mine.”
With its wind-diesel hybrid power plant, Diavik is already a leader in cold-climate renewable technologies, and this important project reinforces our commitment to reducing our carbon footprint. I would like to thank the Government of the Northwest Territories and the Government of Canada for their support in rolling out this project.
The solar power plant will significantly increase Diavik’s renewable energy production, which already has a wind-diesel hybrid power plant with a capacity of 55.4 MW that supplies the site’s electricity.
The project is receiving funding of C$3.3 million from the Government of the Northwest Territories’ Greenhouse Gas Reduction Grant Program and C$600,000 from the Government of Canada’s investment in clean electricity.
Northwest Territories Finance Minister Caroline Wawzonek said, “The Diavik solar power plant is an encouraging sign of Rio Tinto’s commitment to renewable energy and reducing emissions. The Government of the Northwest Territories is pleased to have provided support through the Large Industrial Emitters Greenhouse Gas Reduction Grant Program, one of the original elements of our, own territories approach.
Northwest for the federal carbon tax. This collaboration illustrates our commitment to facilitating sustainable development while reducing greenhouse gas emissions in the Northwest Territories, and should be a signal of how our economic development can continue to position us as leaders in these areas.”
Diavik is working with the Government of the Northwest Territories and community partners to determine how its renewable energy infrastructure could benefit the region after its closure.
Rio Tinto is advancing its decarbonization initiatives across its global operations, with the goal of reducing its Scope 1 and 2 greenhouse gas emissions by 50% by 2030 and meeting the net zero emissions across all of its operations by 2050.
Construction will begin in the coming weeks and the solar power plant will be fully operational in the first half of 2024.
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