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The Australian mining company Syrah Resources has taken the Final Investment Decision to build an 11.25 megawatt solar plant to power its Balama graphite mine in the northern Mozambican province of Cabo Delgado.
Currently, the mine is powered by a diesel generator and the installation of the solar farm will cut diesel consumption by 35 per cent. According to Syrah, the project will “generate an attractive return on capital” given the low upfront capital costs and the savings on diesel. In addition, the solar plant will reduce the amount of carbon dioxide produced in the mining process by 12.5 per cent.
The project is being implemented in partnership with Solar Century Africa Limited with funding provided by CrossBoundary Energy.
The solar plant is expected to be operational by March 2023.
Syrah’s open cast mine at Balama covers 106 square kilometres and is reported to hold the largest graphite reserves ever discovered. According to the company, the mine has an estimated lifespan of over fifty years.
Syrah is also developing a facility in Louisiana, in the United States, for processing the graphite into Active Anode Material for use in electric car batteries. In December, the company signed a binding agreement to supply Active Anode Material to the prestigious car manufacturer Tesla.
Some of the mine’s production is shipped from Nacala to China which has an overwhelming dominance in the production of Active Anode Material used in lithium-ion batteries for electric cars.