Barrick outlines Nevada Gold Mines solar plan

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Barrick Gold Corp. [ABX-TSX, GOLD-NASDAQ] said its Nevada Gold Mines operation is investing in a 200-megawatt solar power plant designed to accelerate its decarbonization program by reducing greenhouse gas emissions. No cost details were revealed in Wednesday’s press release.

Nevada Gold Mines, established in July 2019, is owned 61.5% and operated by Barrick Gold. Newmont Corp. [NGT-TSX, NEM-NYSE] holds the other 38.5%.

The joint venture ranks as the largest global gold producing complex by a wide margin, with three of the world’s top 10 Tier One gold assets (Goldstrike/Carlin, Cortez and Turquoise Ridge/Twin Creeks) and potentially another one in the making (Goldrush).

Its assets in northeastern Nevada, consist of 10 underground and 12 open pit mines, two autoclave facilities, two roasting facilities, four oxide mills, a flotation plant, and five heap leach facilities. The joint venture was established with the intention of delivering identified synergies of up to US$500 million per year over the first five years from 2020, stepping down over time after that.

In 2021, Nevada Gold Mines produced 3.3 million ounces of gold at an all-in-sustaining cost (AISC) of US$949 per ounce. That compared to 3.47 million ounces in 2020 when the AISC was US$941 an ounce.

Nevada Gold Mines has committed to a 20% carbon reduction by 2025. This will be achieved through a 200 megawatts (MW) solar array construction and the conversion of Nevada Gold Mines’ coal fired power plant to cleaner burning natural gas.

Nevada Gold Mines is partnering with First Solar Inc. [FSLR-NASDAQ] to manufacture all modules required to support the 200 (MW) construction entirely in the United States.

Nevada Gold Mines has commenced detailed engineering and expects to begin construction in the third quarter of 2022. The modules supplied by First Solar are expected to be delivered in the beginning of the second quarter of 2023 and will power both phases of the power plant.

Barrick has said the project will be constructed in two 100 MW phases.

“The project is the latest in a series of carbon-reducing initiatives across the group’s global operations,’’ said Barrick group sustainability executive Grant Beringer.  “The solar power plant will complement the transition of Nevada Gold Mines’ coal power plant to a dual fuel process, which will enable it to generate electricity from natural gas, reducing carbon emissions by as   much as 50%.”

Nevada Gold Mines said it chose to contract with a supplier who is committed to fair labour practises, investing in American manufacturing and American jobs, and is one which will deliver high performance solar panels with the lowest carbon footprint and the best environmental profile available today.

On Wednesday, Barrick Gold shares were largely unchanged on the news, rising 0.19% or $0.06 to $32.23 on volume 911,970. The shares are currently trading in a 52-week range of $33.50 and $22.30.


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