Atlantic Mining seeks to turn Touquoy mine into renewable energy hub

Touquoy gold mine open pit.(Image courtesy of St Barbara.)

Atlantic Mining Nova Scotia, a subsidiary of St Barbara (ASX: SBM), has kicked off a program to explore the feasibility of converting the now closed Touquoy gold mine in Moose River, Nova Scotia, into a renewable energy hub. 

The objective of the study, to be carried out with the support of green energy company Natural Forces, is to reduce the environmental impact of the operation closure. In particular, the partners will explore the possibility of repurposing the mine site to host a closed-loop pumped hydro energy storage system combined with solar photovoltaic panels. 

Closed-loop pumped hydro energy is a proven technology that allows for renewable energy to be stored over long durations while energy supply to the grid is plentiful, and dispatched at times when there is a need for generation to respond to fluctuations in variable energy sources to meet demand.

The approach would allow setting up a closed-loop system that would pump water from the open-pit lake up to a reservoir onsite for storage, ready for hydro energy generation on release of water back to the open-pit when required, the company said. 

“Since closing Touquoy, we have been looking at potential alternative land uses as we move into mine reclamation phase.” Andrew Strelein, managing director and CEO of Atlantic Mining said in the statement. “This initiative with Natural Forces is a reflection of our ongoing efforts to deploy innovative solutions in all aspects of our operations, including closure. 

Atlantic Mining looks into renewable energy for Touquoy mine
Closed-Loop pumped hydro energy storage system by Natural Forces (Image courtesy of CNW Group/St Barbara – Atlantic Mining Nova Scotia.)

Australia-based St Barbara anticipated finishing ore processing by the end of 2024 and subsequently transitioning the mine into care and maintenance.

The miner had to move mine closure forward as it faced troubles obtaining approval for the modifications it wished to implement at the location.

Atlantic Mining requested in 2021 approval from the province to deposit its tailings in the open pit after gold reserves were depleted. However, Environment Minister Tim Halman said at the time he lacked sufficient information to make a decision at that time and asked for additional studies to be conducted.

St Barbara stopped mining the open pit early last year and moved to processing stockpiles. The mine has been on care and maintenance since late 2023.

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