News | July 2, 2024

Two New Solar Farms For Gove Peninsula As Rio Tinto Works To Secure More Sustainable Power

Nhulunbuy (BUSINESS WIRE) - Two new 5.25MW solar farms will be built on Gumatj and Rirratjingu country on the Gove Peninsula in the Northern Territory, as Rio Tinto works to secure a more sustainable power supply for the region beyond mining.

The solar farms will be built on Rio Tinto leases, following agreement with the Gumatj and Rirratjingu Traditional Owner Groups on the location of the facilities, and will help underpin a low-carbon future for the Gove community after mining operations cease, towards the end of the decade.

Aggreko will construct, own and operate the solar farms for Rio Tinto for up to 10 years, beginning construction in July 2024 and with completion scheduled for early 2025. The two sites will have combined capacity of 10.5MW.

Rio Tinto Gove Operations Acting General Manager Shannon Price said “The Gove solar project is part of our shared vision with Traditional Owners to leave a positive legacy for the Gove Peninsula communities after bauxite mining ceases.

“We’re excited to work with the Gumatj and Rirratjingu clans to provide an opportunity to secure alternative electricity generation assets on their country and to discuss opportunities to commercialise energy infrastructure in the future.

“We are working in partnership with the Northern Territory Government and Traditional Owners to ensure a smooth transition of leased land and town assets and infrastructure as Rio Tinto prepares to stop mining at Gove later this decade.

“We are committed to our role in helping to plan for the region’s future, which includes providing options for reliable, affordable and environmentally sustainable infrastructure.

“The solar farms are also part of our ongoing commitment to decarbonise our business. Once operational, they are expected to reduce annual CO2e emissions at our Gove operations by up to 17%.

“We intend for these farms to underpin sustainable power for the region beyond mining.”

When complete, the solar farms are expected to reduce the region’s annual diesel consumption by about 20%, or 4.5 million litres a year, and lower annual carbon emissions by over 12,000 tonnes, which is the equivalent of taking 2,800 internal combustion engine cars off the road1.

Note to editors
Rio Tinto’s Gove site in Australia’s Northern Territory has been supplying the global aluminium industry with world-class bauxite for more than 40 years. Gove bauxite is shipped internationally as well as being used to supply the Queensland Alumina Limited and Yarwun refineries in Gladstone, Queensland. These refineries produce alumina as feedstock for Rio Tinto’s Australian aluminium smelting operations and for sale on the international market.

Bauxite mining operations in the Gove Peninsula are expected to end later this decade and work is already underway to support the closure of the operation and rehabilitation of the refinery, mine site and tailings facilities.

The two solar farms will be built on Gumatj and Rirratjingu country, the largest Traditional Owners groups who are signatories to the RTA Gove Traditional Owners Agreement.

Rio Tinto is working with Traditional Owners and the Northern Territory Government as it prepares to cease mining at Gove operations towards the end of the decade.

After closure and rehabilitation of the refinery, mine site and tailings facilities, the land will be returned to and managed by Traditional Owners, with Rio Tinto maintaining responsibility for the ongoing monitoring of the tailings land. More information on Gove can be found here.

1 Based on the tailpipe CO2 emissions from a typical passenger vehicle obtained from the US EPA.

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