B2Gold, in a press release announcing the official opening of the 7 MW scheme, said the new facility started operations in early April and is expected to reduce heavy fuel oil consumption at its existing power plant by 2.3 million litres this year.
The Otjikoto mine PV scheme, approved in October 2016, is expected to reduce the company’s fuel costs by 10% this year and was built at a cost of CAN$8.5 million. (USD6.57 million).
At the official opening, Namibia’s Minister of Mines and Energy, Tom Alweendo, said the plant: “will deliver positive economic, environmental and social impacts that are likely to outlive the life of mine”, adding: “It will serve as a sustainable power solution as B2Gold works to improve economic returns, reduce impacts on the environment and could potentially be a funding source for community development.”
B2Gold says it is considering leaving the solar facility in place after the mine closes, to generate income which could be spent on its corporate social responsibility projects in the region.
“B2Gold firmly believes that a successfully-run, responsible mining company can truly add value and leave a positive legacy to… local communities and [the] environment by generating sustainable socio-economic and environmental benefits,” said Bill Lytle, Senior Vice President of Operations for the gold miner.