Sourcing

Rio Tinto to Build Solar Plant to Help Power Diavik

SourcingAug 17, 2023

Rio Tinto to Build Solar Plant to Help Power Diavik

The facility will have bi-facial panels, which generate energy from direct sunlight as well as the reflection from the snow.

Diavik Diamond Mine in winter
Rio Tinto is building a solar power plant to provide electricity to the Diavik Diamond Mine in Canada’s Northwest Territories. Once constructed, it will help cut diesel consumption, reduce emissions, and provide up to 25 percent of the mine’s electricity.
Yellowknife, Canada—Rio Tinto announced this week it will construct a solar power plant to help power the final days of the Diavik Diamond Mine.  
 
Slated to be the largest of its kind in Canada’s northern territories, the facility will have more than 6,600 solar panels that will generate about 4,200 megawatt-hours of carbon-free electricity for the mine a year.  
 
The panels will be bi-facial, meaning they generate energy from both direct sunlight and light reflecting off the snow that covers the ground around Diavik for most of the year. The mine is in Canada’s Northwest Territories about 125 miles south of the Arctic Circle.  
 
Construction on the plant will start in the coming weeks and it is expected to be fully functional in the first half of next year. 
 
Once up and running, it will cut diesel consumption, reduce emissions, and provide up to 25 percent of the mine’s electricity during closure work that will run until 2029.  
 
Diavik’s commercial production is expected to end in early 2026.  

 Related stories will be right here … 
 
“I am delighted that we will be significantly increasing our renewable power generation with the largest solar power plant in Canada’s northern territories at the Diavik Diamond Mine,” said Angela Bigg, who took over as president and chief operating officer at the mine in December 2021. 
 
“Through its wind-diesel hybrid power facility, Diavik is already a leader in cold-climate renewable technology and this important project reinforces our dedication to reducing our carbon footprint.”  
 
The Government of the Northwest Territories gave $3.3 million Canadian dollars ($2.4 million) toward the construction of the plant through its Large Emitters GHG Reducing Investment Grant program, while CA$600,000 (approximately $443,000) came from the Canadian government’s Clean Electricity Investment Tax Credit.  
 
Diavik is working with the local government and community partners to determine how the plant can benefit the region once the diamond mine is closed.  
 
Rio Tinto is working on decarbonization at its operations worldwide, with the goal of reducing Scope 1 (direct) and Scope 2 (indirect) greenhouse gas emissions by 50 percent by 2023 and having net zero emissions across its operations by 2050.  

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