Integrating solar energy to a mine in Burkina Faso

IAMGOLD wanted to acquire a 225 kV transmission line to power its Essakane mining facilities located in the desert zone of northeastern Burkina Faso. Based on BBA expert studies, the mining company opted for solar energy, a solution that resulted in millions of dollars in annual diesel fuel savings.

Client: IAMGOLD
Location: Essakane Mine, Burkina Faso

OUR EXPERTS’ SOLUTIONS

BBA initially performed the feasibility study, which demonstrated major benefits that would result from building a solar photovoltaic power plant as an alternative power source to the existing 57 MW diesel plant at the mine. BBA then oversaw the integration of the 15 MW, 6.6 kV photovoltaic farm to the facilities. The firm also provided specialized technical services during negotiations for the power purchase agreement with the private company responsible for operating the solar farm and supervised construction work as the Owner’s Engineer. The implemented solutions included:

  • Economic study (cost analysis) to assess effects of the solar power plant on fuel consumption from diesel generators

  • Assessment of the potential maximum power output of onsite solar resources

  • Choice of technology, including PV panels, transformers, AC and DC cables and DC connection boxes for the converter station

  • Impact assessment of the solar farm on the existing electrical distribution system

  • Coordination of electrical and structural construction work

  • Support for commissioning to ensure compliance with the power purchase agreement

IN THE WORDS OF OUR CLIENT…

“Because they were present at the mine site, the BBA Project Leaders were able to quickly apply their management skills to ensure that adding the solar farm to the thermal power plant would not impact mining operations. For their part, engineers at the Mont-Saint-Hilaire offices supported IAMGOLD in every contractual and technical aspect of this major project.”

IAMGOLD

IN NUMBERS

  • 15 MW of installed solar power capacity

  • Annual savings of 6 million litres in fuel

  • Up to 10% renewable energy penetration on the system

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