A Western Australian mining company is planning a mine completely powered by solar and wind power, in the next three years for the first time in Australia.
Galaxy Resources` Mt Cattlin lithium mine currently uses renewable energy sources for up to 15 per cent of its total power, using solar tracking panels developed by Swan Energy.
The panels at the mine provide 15 per cent more power than conventional systems.
This already saves the company 200 tonnes of carbon emissions each year and Galaxy`s managing director Iggy Tan said the company will take advantage of the strong and consistent winds around the Mt Cattlin mine as it moves towards a 100 per cent renewable energy-powered site.
He said they intend to install three wind turbines, each with a 1.2 megawatt capacity, as well as a solar power system with a one megawatt capacity to power the site.
Carbon tax sparks interest in renewable energy
The latest developments from Galaxy follow increasing concern from communities, environmentalists and mining companies about the amount of emissions released into the atmosphere from mining and construction projects.
Most mining operations in Western Australia are powered by diesel and coal, which release high levels of pollution, and under the federal government`s carbon emissions tax, many companies are looking at ways to cut costs and pollution with renewable energy.
Australia has the longest sunshine hours and has weather patterns that see consistent winds blow, particularly in WA.