Golden winds

Barrick Gold has announced plans to invest $68m in wind and solar energy projects to supplement the power supply in Chile and Tanzania.

In Chile, Barrick submitted a proposal to national environmental authorities to build a $40m wind farm in the Punta Colorada area of La Higuera. Barrick also plans to invest in a $28m project near its North Mara mine to bring hydro-electric power to parts of the remote Mara region of Tanzania.

The Punta Colorada wind farm project will feature 10 wind turbines with the capacity to generate up to 20 megawatts of power, which will make it the largest source of wind-generated energy in Chile. Seawind Group will supply the technology for the project.

‘As part of Barrick’s efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, we are working on innovative energy strategies, while improving the efficiency of our mine sites,’ said Greg Wilkins, president and CEO of Barrick.

Under an agreement with the Tanzanian government, Barrick aims to bring electricity to 25 per cent of the population by 2010, an increase of 15 per cent. Barrick will construct transmission lines, to be operated by Tanzania Electric Supply Company (TANESCO), to the North Mara region, in order to connect the area to the national power grid by early 2009. The planned hydroelectric power source will supplement the region’s current supply of diesel-generated electricity.

Other renewable projects that Barrick is involved in include an installation of a 2MW demonstration wind turbine at more than 4,000m above sea level near its Veladero mine in San Juan, Argentina, and the construction of a 1MW solar energy farm by its 115MW natural gas power station in western Nevada.