A lithium mining site in Australia is going to be completely powered by renewable energy within the next three years.
Lithium is the primary ingredient in battery packs for plug-in vehicles such as the Nissan LEAF and the Chevy Volt, both of which can themselves be plugged into, and run on, electricity generated by renewable energy forms such as solar and wind.
The mining site, Mt. Cattlin, is owned by Galaxy Resources Limited, and is located near Ravensthorpe in Western Australia.
Currently, more than ten percent of the mine’s energy supply is driven by solar and wind power.
I think companies are still obviously being proactive about being sustainable and where they can be reducing their carbon footprint, but obviously the prospect of a carbon tax is also one of the important parameters to consider.
–Iggy Tan, Managing Director, Galaxy Resources Limited
By 2014, the plan is to have the mine running 100 percent from renewable energy.
There are 14 solar panels that have been installed on tracking technology, which enables them to follow the sun throughout the day and produce 15% more energy than a fixed system.
The solar trackers and two wind turbines create 226MWh per year of renewable energy.
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The Australian Federal Government has proposed a carbon tax, which is an incentive for mining sites to find alternative energy sources, according to the Managing Director, Iggy Tan.
“I think companies are still obviously being proactive about being sustainable and where they can be reducing their carbon footprint, but obviously the prospect of a carbon tax is also one of the important parameters to consider,” said Tan.
Galaxy Resources was recently commended for its decision to install renewable energy sources at Mt. Cattlin, and was presented with the Energy and Distribution Award.
The company plans to become one of the world’s leading producers of lithium compounds.
Galaxy’s Jiangsu Lithium Carbonate plant is currently under construction, and once it is finished, Galaxy expects it to be one of the largest plants in China that is capable of converting rock lithium mineral concentrates into lithium compounds and chemicals.
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