SunEdison to supply solar power to Chilean copper mine

SunEdison has signed a 20-year solar power supply deal Los Pelambres copper mine from its 69.5 MW Javiera solar plant in Chile’s Antofagasta region.

The Javiera power plant is currently under construction and is expected to be connected to the grid in the first months of 2015. The project will deliver all of its electricity to the Central Interconnected System (SIC) and will supply Los Pelambres, a copper concentrate and molybdenum mine located in the Coquimbo region. The mine is owned by Antofagasta Minerals S.A., the largest private mining group in Chile and one of the nine largest copper producers in the world.

PV plant owner and operator TerraForm Power intends to purchase the project after it becomes operational next year.

SunEdison said the project demonstrated the competitiveness of solar energy in Chile, particularly in the mining and industry market.

Los Pelambres general manager Robert Mayne-Nicholls said the initiative was in line with the mine’s goal to increase sustainability in its power supply mix at competitive prices. "When operations began in 2000, we incorporated an energy generation mechanism into our conveyor belts, and as of this year, wind energy contracts."

Mayne-Nicholls added that in the near-term, through 2015, the mine would incorporate PV energy and more than 30% of its energy supply would be realized through renewable projects. "In the medium-term we will add run-of-the-river hydro-electricity and become a leading mining company in the use of clean sources of energy."

Jose Perez, president of SunEdison for Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Latin America, said the deal reinforced "SunEdison’s ability to offer competitive, innovative and sustainable energy solutions to its customers and reaffirms SunEdison’s leading role in Latin America."