Canadian Mining Journal

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Commentary: Powering Iamgold’s Essakane mine in Burkina Faso with solar



Iamgold (TSX: IMG; NYSE: IAG) operates in extremely remote regions of the world, and with mining a highly power intensive business, energy is not something we take for granted. Our Essakane gold mine in Burkina Faso is located in an extremely remote area of the Sahel region, 330 km away from the national electricity grid in the capital city of Ouagadougou, with no connecting transmission line.

Africa is a land greatly deprived of electricity. Total installed grid capacity on the African continent is less than in the country of Spain. With the exception of South Africa, 70% of the sub-Saharan population, or 600 million people, do not have access to grid electricity.

At Essakane, the demand for power is increasing as we mine the hard rock deep within the pit. Our power plant runs on heavy fuel oil (HFO) and our mining fleet on diesel. Power from HFO has accounted for as much as 30% of our operating costs, although less so today with the decline in oil prices.

For several years we have explored options for reducing our reliance on oil to run our operations, including increasing our use of renewable sources of energy.

Read the entire story at The Northern Miner.