Spain’s Riotinto mine will be the site of the country’s largest solar power plant, which is being built thanks to a partnership between Enel X Global Retail and Atalaya Mining, one of the world's largest extractors of copper and other essential minerals for economic development.
In the historic Riotinto open-pit copper mine, energy consumption accounts for 70% of the carbon footprint resulting from operations. Consequently, Atalaya Mining decided to drastically cut this figure: for the environment, for the efficiency of the mine, and for the high Health, safety, environment, and quality (HSEQ) standards the company has set in the 21st century.
Atalaya has always been keen on the path Riotinto should follow to ensure the extraction and supply of strategically important raw materials for the continent, while remaining committed to the environment. The company seeks to combine sustainable self-production of energy with supply safety and a reduction in energy costs.
The largest photovoltaic plant at a Spanish mine
The partnership between Enel and Atalaya will result in the largest photovoltaic plant ever built in a mine in Spain. The Riotinto Mine project will cover an area of over 234,000 square meters with 75,765 photovoltaic panels, boasting a total capacity of 50 MW. The solar project will feature a dedicated substation to carry out the electrical transformation from 132 to 30 kV (from high to low voltage).
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The plant will cover 25% of Riotinto's energy needs, delivering major economic savings on energy costs, while the mine will see a reduction of 40,000 tonnes in CO2 emissions, equivalent to 173,000 oil barrels. That's the same amount consumed by 20,000 Spaniards in one year.
Atalaya's €300 million investment will extend well beyond the mine's lifespan. The joint project with Enel X Global Retail will generate permanent employment in the area, which is a significant added value. And this is just the beginning: the two companies are already looking ahead, with a new project in the starting blocks at Galicia’s Touro mine.
Enel X Global Retail, a unit of Enel S.p.A., aims to provide an integrated ecosystem of energy supply and value-added solutions across all sectors, even the most challenging ones. By developing economically and environmentally sustainable projects that anticipate future needs and empower industrial players to take control of their energy, Enel works to prove that cost-effectiveness, innovation, and sustainability can actually coexist.
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