Rio Tinto Renewable Energy Plant under Construction in Madagascar
Solar and wind power plant project to help boost QMM ilmenite mining operations.
QIT Madagascar Minerals (QMM) and its partner Crossboundary Energy (CBE) laid the foundation stone for a renewable energy plant in December 2021. QMM is a joint venture between Rio Tinto (80%) and the government of Madagascar (20%). The plant site is located near Fort Dauphin in the Anosy region of south-eastern Madagascar.
On completion the plant will supply power to the QMM ilmenite mine operations in Fort Dauphin. CBE is expected to run the plant under a build-own-operate-transfer (BOOT) model over 20 years.
The plant will include an 8-megawatt solar facility, a 12 megawatts wind energy facility and will also do power mining and processing operations. It will have about 18,000 solar panels and up to nine wind turbines. A lithium-ion battery energy storage system will ensure a stable network with a reserve capacity of 8.25 megawatts.
Rio Tinto estimates that the plant will supply all QMM’s electricity demand during peak production periods and up to 60% of its total demand. This facility will help QMM reduce its carbon footprint and improve its environmental impact. It will reduce an excess of 26,000 tons of CO2 emissions and help cut QMM’s heavy fuel oil purchases by 8,500 tonnes per year.
“This project is important in Madagascar’s development strategy, particularly within the Plan Emergence Sud, which makes access to electricity for the people of the Anosy region a priority,” said Andry Ramaroson, Madagascar’s Minister of Energy and Hydrocarbons Andry Ramaroson.
Ny Fanja Rakotomalala, President of QMM, said there should be full integration of activities within the development plan of the region, responsible social and environmental governance and reducing the carbon footprint.
Matt Tilleard, Managing Partner of CBE, said: “By establishing a commercial power plant that blends solar photovoltaic, battery energy storage and wind power, the QMM project improves the island of Madagascar's standing as a regional renewable energy leader. CBE is pleased to take up this technical challenge. We believe large-scale, complex commercial energy projects can be realised here in Madagascar thanks to ample supply of renewable resources, holistic government support and knowledgeable local implementing partners.”
Photo: QMM Ilmenite Mine, Fort Dauphin, Madagascar (fluor.com)