Rio Tinto’s Diavik Diamond Mine to Establish New Canadian Solar Power Plant

A overhead image of the Diavik Diamond Mine in Canada.

Credit: Rio Tinto

by | Aug 14, 2023

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A overhead image of the Diavik Diamond Mine in Canada.

(Credit: Rio Tinto)

Rio Tinto’s Diavik Diamond Mine is constructing a new solar power plant in Canada, which the company says will be the largest across the country’s territories.

This initiative will feature 6,600 solar panels, which can generate approximately 4.2 gigawatt-hours of clean electricity annually for the mine.

Rio Tinto is a global mining group that focuses on finding, mining, and processing mineral resources. The Diavik Diamond Mine is owned and managed by Rio Tinto, and the mine consists of four diamond-bearing pipes. Currently, Davik’s mine produces nearly 4.5 million carats of rough diamonds annually. 

The solar power plant is primed to provide up to 25% of Diavik’s electricity during the closure work until 2029, coinciding with the anticipated conclusion of commercial production by early 2026.

Diavik Diamond Mine Solar Power Plant

Distinguished by its bi-facial panels, the facility is designed to harness not only direct sunlight but also the sunlight reflected off the snow that blankets Diavik for most of the year. This approach is projected to slash diesel consumption on-site by around 1 million liters annually and curtail emissions by nearly 2,900 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent.

The Diavik Diamond Mine’s renewable energy portfolio will be significantly enhanced by this solar power plant, which complements the existing wind-diesel hybrid power facility boasting a substantial capacity of 55.4 MW, serving as the mine’s primary source of electricity.

The project has received close to $2.45 million in support from the Government of the Northwest Territories’ Large Emitters GHG Reducing Investment Grant program, in addition to $445,000 from the Government of Canada’s Clean Electricity Investment Tax Credit.

As Rio Tinto propels its decarbonization initiatives globally, aiming to cut its Scope 1 and 2 greenhouse gas emissions by 50% by 2030 and achieve net zero operations by 2050, the Diavik Diamond Mine’s solar power plant will play a role in reaching those targets. Construction is poised to commence in the upcoming weeks, with the plant projected to be fully operational by the first half of 2024.

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