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Gold mine to fork out R3 billion for solar farm

Author: Charlie Fripp

Sibanye Gold, one of the country’s biggest gold-producing mines, announced last week that it will be building a R3 billion solar farm to ease its pressure on the grid.

Neal Froneman, chief executive of Sibanye Gold, told Alec Hogg from CNBC Africa that the plant will have the capacity to generate around 150MW of electricity.

“You have to put it in perspective.  Twenty percent of our costs are related to electricity.  It’s the second biggest, single cost and labour is at 55 percent, so 75 percent of our costs in the gold sector are related to labour and electricity. Quite honestly, in many respects, you are dependent on something you can’t really control. The 150MW that may come with the solar initiative is going to cost about R3bn,” he said during the television interview.

Froneman also added that building a solar farm to power 10% of the mine’s electricity needs might just be the first step in going off grid, and not having to rely on Eskom at all.

 

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