Renewables to power Northern Minerals’ rare earth operation

Browns Range mining complex. (Image courtesy of Northern Minerals).

Soluna Australia, a 50-50 partnership between Lithium Australia NL (ASX: LIT) and DLG Energy (China), and Northern Minerals (ASX: NTU) have executed a letter of intent to develop a renewable power and battery storage facility at NTU’s Browns Range rare earth operation in Western Australia. 

Northern Minerals’ tenure around the Browns Range project covers an area of more than 3,500 square kilometres and is centred on the Browns Range Dome, located within both Western Australia and the Northern Territory

Both the accommodation camp and processing plant at Browns Range are reliant on diesel for power generation. Thus, Soluna is set to provide a photovoltaic power generator and energy storage system in the form of lithium-ion battery packs designed specifically for that application. 

“The plan [is] to reduce the carbon footprint of the entire facility – initially by lowering the operating and maintenance costs associated with diesel power generation at the accommodation camp,” the companies said in a media statement. “The goal long term is to reduce the use of fossil fuels across the entire operation.”

According to the firms involved in the project, the entire system should arrive at the mine in September 2020.

“Lithium Australia is aware of the growing demand for off-grid and fringe-of-grid hybrid energy systems. Renewable energy won’t work without reliable storage and Soluna offers economical and sustainable solutions,” Adrian Griffin, Lithium Australia managing director, said in the press brief.

“We look forward to Browns Range becoming a successful renewable-energy case study.” 

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