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Otjikoto solar farm launched

B2Gold broke ground on the construction of a seven megawatt (MW) photovoltaic (PV) solar power plant at its Otjikoto Mine.

Tom Alweendo minister of Mines and Energy said the Otjikoto Solar Farm is yet another significant contribution in the private sector’s drive for sustainable energy solutions.

“This solar plant will deliver positive economic, environmental and social impacts that are likely to outlive the life of mine.

“It will serve as a sustainable power solution as B2Gold works to improve economic returns, reduce impacts on the environment and could potentially be a funding source for community development,” Alweendo said.

Prior to the inclusion of the solar plant to the mine’s energy portfolio, the Otjikoto mine obtained 100 percent of its energy requirements from 24 MW of installed generation capacity at the Otjikoto power plant, comprising of heavy fuel oil (HFO) diesel generators.

With a consistent demand of 12.5 MW 24 hours per day, the plant consumed 21.7 million litres of HFO during 2017, costing approximately $10.5 million.

John Roos, B2Gold Namibia’s Manager for projects and compliance said the new plant is being built due to the company’s commitment to environmental stewardship, its dependence on a steady supply of HFO, its exposure to increasing oil prices, and the company’s focus to remain a low-cost producer.

“Driven by these challenges, the B2Gold project team embarked upon a detailed financial feasibility study early in 2016 to prove the financial viability of adding a 7 MW solar plant to Otjikoto’s energy portfolio,” said Roos.

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