June 22, 2024
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Rio Tinto Launches Solar Power Plant in Madagascar’s Fort-Dauphin Mining Site

Rio Tinto, the Anglo-Australian group has launched a new photovoltaic solar power plant in south-east Madagascar to supply electricity to the Fort-Dauphin mining site. The plant, boasting an 8 MWp capacity, was financed and constructed by CrossBoundary Energy.

QIT Madagascar Minerals (QMM), a mining company owned by Rio Tinto, is embarking on its energy transition journey with solar power. Recently, the company inaugurated a photovoltaic solar power plant at its Fort-Dauphin mine, with Madagascan President Andry Rajoelina in attendance.

Situated at Ehoala, the new power station comprises 14,640 solar panels capable of generating 8 MWp. It was established under a partnership forged in 2021 between Rio Tinto and CrossBoundary Energy, with the Nairobi-based company committed to supplying 30 MW of renewable energy to QMM facilities.

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The newly commissioned solar power plant represents the first phase, with plans for a second 6 MWp plant underway. Additionally, CrossBoundary will construct a wind farm consisting of 19 turbines with a combined capacity of 19 MW.

President Andry Rajoelina sees such initiatives as pivotal in decarbonising the island’s economy, stating, “The Malagasy government recognises the vital importance of an adaptable industry that contributes to the effort to combat climate change. As a nation, we are committed to being pioneers in this transition, demonstrating our determination to protect our country and offer a sustainable future to our fellow citizens.”

Located in the Anosy region at Fort-Dauphin, QMM specializes in the production of ilmenite, a key source of titanium dioxide used primarily as a white pigment in paints and paper. The Rio Tinto subsidiary also produces zirsill, utilized in ceramic tiles and electronic products, and monazite, a rare earth mineral crucial for renewable energy technologies such as high-power permanent magnets for wind turbines and electric vehicles.

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