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Sunshine for Mines

We aim to provide and scale on-site renewable energy at mining operations around the world.

What is Sunshine for Mines?

Sunshine for Mines rapidly accelerates the installation of on-site renewable energy capacity—especially solar photovoltaic (PV)—integrated into the power systems of on- and off-grid mines around the world.

Why It Matters

Solar PV is rapidly becoming more cost-effective, both for remote off-grid mines operating diesel generators and for many grid-tied mines. Installing solar at mines reduces carbon emissions at the gigaton scale and demonstrates sustainable mining practices.

Who’s Involved

Sunshine for Mines has partnered with mining companies to provide assistance with feasibility assessments and procurement, and is working toward the completion of our first project with Gold Fields in South Africa.

What We’re Doing


Developing tools and information to support the adoption of renewables by the mining industry

Proving the renewables business case through a staged approach: high-level renewables screening study, optimized techno-economic feasibility study, and market engagement

Creating a web portal that will incorporate the information developed

Meeting directly with C-suite executives and sustainability/energy directors at major mining companies

Highlighting commitments and successes, utilizing the brands and platforms of our organization and of our partners to spotlight and amplify forward progress

Convening workshops to work closely with practitioners to identify challenges, identify solutions, and build understanding and support

Promoting the approach at industry conferences and events

WHAT WE’VE ACCOMPLISHED

Anglo American

RMI were asked by Anglo American to take part in their FutureSmartTM Energy Open Forum in 2016. As part of the stimulus ahead of the ideation sessions, RMI developed a conceptual solution for a zero-carbon, off-grid Tier 1 production copper mine. Considering a number of renewable options, the study demonstrated clearly the current economic limits of renewable power as a viable power option for a large-scale operating mine and succeeded in its objective of stimulating valuable discussion on the use of renewables in the mining industry.

Gold Fields

In 2015, Gold Fields engaged with RMI’s Sunshine for Mines team to undertake a company-wide energy security plan review and then to design and develop a renewable energy solution for South Deep. Sunshine for Mines delivered a solution comprised of 40 MW of solar PV with up to 7.5 MWh of storage, which is competitive with grid energy costs, enhances the reliability of supply, and has a positive benefit-to-cost ratio. Sunshine for Mines served as an advisor and knowledge partner throughout the review, design and procurement process.

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BHP

In 2017, the Sunshine for Mines team at Rocky Mountain Institute worked with the multinational mining company BHP on an energy and sustainability analysis of BHP's North American portfolio of 22 legacy mines. The goal of this analysis was to identify a ranking of the best potential sites for redevelopment into grid-scale renewable energy generating assets. As a result, the team identified over 500 MW of potential new capacity build. Sunshine for Mines' analysis considered both commercially established technologies like solar PV, wind energy, pumped hydro, and lithium-ion battery storage, as well as innovative options including electricity generation from shaft airflow and flywheel batteries. Sunshine for Mines continues to work with BHP on developing the top-ranked sites and advising on project pipeline life cycle from design to commercialization.

OUR PARTNERS

Gold Fields

Partner

Monitor Deloitte

Partner

OUR TEAM

Alastaire Dick
Operations Lead

Thomas Koch Blank
Principal
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Joseph Goodman
Principal
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Paolo Natali, Ph.D.
Manager
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Kevin Haley
Marketing Manager
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Jessie Lund
Program Coordinator
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Sam Hartnett
Associate
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Patrick Molloy
Associate
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From the planning stage through the RFP process, Rocky Mountain Institute’s Sunshine for Mines program was a valuable strategic advisor and knowledge partner as we sought leading-edge energy solutions.

‐Tsakani Mthombeni, Global Head of Carbon & Energy, Gold Fields

RESOURCES

Insight Brief

A Second Life for Legacy Mining Sites—2017

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Case Study

Mining Renewable Energy: South Deep Mine—2017

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Insight Brief

Toward Sustainable Mining

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News

Mining Review

Boring for Clean Energy

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Eco Business

Energy Revolution Africa 2017

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McCullough Robertson

Can Renewable Energy Be a Friend to Traditional Mining?

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Engineering & Mining Journal

Cashing In On Renewable Energy

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Virgin Unite

It's Time for Our Century-Old Electric System to be Modernized

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Clean Technica

Renewables Could Create 'Groundbreaking' Decarbonization Effort for Mining Industry

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REnewEconomy

Digging for Carbon Cuts: How the Mining Industry Can Win with Renewables

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GreenBiz

Renewables offer mining a groundbreaking opportunity

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Huffington Post

The Global Mining Industry Begins To Embrace Renewables

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Mining Weekly

Renewable Energy Shown to Rein in Energy Costs at Off-Grid Mines in SA

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