Mining company Harmony commissions 30 MW solar plants in South Africa


Harmony Gold Mining Company has commissioned 30 MW of ground-mounted solar projects in the Free State Province. The plants – Tshepong, Eland, and Nyala – are located in the town of Odendaalsrus, and the power generated will be sold to Harmony Gold Mining under a power purchase agreement (PPA) for a period of 15 years.

African Clean Energy Developments (ACED) was co-sponsor to AIIM / Old Mutual’s IDEAS Fund and was primarily responsible for procurement and PPA negotiations, the technical-commercial interface, and overarching transaction management, including raising debt funding. ACED also oversaw all land and permitting workstreams, and provided construction management.

The Tshepong project is connected directly to Eskom’s Distribution System and wheels energy to Harmony’s point of supply, where Eskom credits them for the energy supplied by the project. The Tshepong project is the first project financed “wheeling” project in South Africa, ACED says.

The Eland and Nyala projects connect directly to Harmony’s electrical system (behind the meter).

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Construction of Phase 2 is expected to commence in December 2023 and be completed in FY25, the company says. Once complete, this will add a further 137 MW.

The first 100 MW of Phase 2 will be largely funded using the R1.5 billion green loan that was secured in June 2022, while the remaining 37 MW will be delivered through a power purchase agreement with an undisclosed company.

In 2020, several mining companies operating in South Africa announced their plans to build power plants relying on PV with a combined capacity of 585 MW. These include a 200 MW solar plant under development by gold provider Sibanye-Stillwater, a 75 MW facility planned by Anglo American Platinum, a 40 MW solar park by Goldfields, a 200 MW PV plant by Indian mining company Vedanta, a 30 MW project by Harmony, a 38 MW plant by Orion, and a smaller 3 MW facility by Exxaro.

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