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Rio Tinto’s Diavik Diamond Mine Goes Solar

July 4, 2024  |  Suzanne Watkin
Solar farm at Diavik mine image

Rio Tinto has installed a 3.5 megawatt capacity solar power plant at the Diavik diamond mine to minimize its footprint in the lead-up to the deposit’s closure. 

The Canada-based facility, which boasts 6,620 solar panels, will reduce diesel consumption at the mine by 1 million liters per year and cut greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions to the tune of 2,900 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent. That is comparable to removing 630 cars from the road each year, Rio Tinto said Tuesday.  

The move is in anticipation of Diavik’s end of mine life, set to take place at the end of 2026, and the resultant closure, which will require approximately a further three years. The solar power plant will supply up to 25% of the mine’s electricity during that closure work, generating energy from sunlight as well as from light reflected off snow. 

The Northwest Territories’ government gave Rio Tinto CAD 3.3 million ($2.4 million) to fund the project.  

The company is working to halve greenhouse-gas emissions across all of its projects by 2030 and to eliminate them in full by 2050. 

“The largest off-grid solar power plant in Canada’s north is our latest commitment to the environment we live and work in and will improve the energy efficiency of our operations at Diavik,” said Matthew Breen, chief operating officer of the mine. “We are proud to lead the way for large-scale renewable-energy projects in Canada’s North.” 

Image: The solar panels at the Diavik mine. (Rio Tinto)

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