Northern News Services
Published Tuesday, November 8, 2011
Diavik Diamond Mines Inc. is going green with the construction of a wind farm at its diamond mine.
A wind turbine by Aurich, Germany-based manufacturer Enercon GmbH. Diavik Diamond Mines Inc. is constructing four 2.3-megawatt turbines at its Diavik Diamond Mine, located about 300 km northeast of Yellowknife. - photo courtesy of Enercon GmbH
The four 2.3-megawatt wind turbines being brought to the site will make up the first large-scale wind farm at an operating mine, globally.
"We're here today to announce what we think is a pretty exciting project at Diavik," said Alasdair Martin, acting president and chief operating officer, last Friday when the project was announced at the mine's office in Yellowknife. "The main aim there is we're currently a very remote site completely reliant on diesel power generation. We're looking to broaden the generating capacity into wind to reduce our reliance on diesel, ultimately to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions going forward."
The remote wind farm to be installed at the mine located about 300 km northeast of Yellowknife, will provide a capacity of 9.2 megawatts, reducing the mine's diesel consumption by 10 per cent, or about four million litres. Greenhouse gas emissions will be reduced by about 12,000 tonnes, Diavik estimates.
Cost savings from the wind farm from direct diesel purchase and trucking offsets are estimated to be $5-6 million, depending on fuel prices.
The capital cost is about $25-30 million, including the purchase, transport, and installation of the turbines.
While the wind farm "certainly helps from a cost point of view," the possibility of it actually extending the mine life is "unlikely," Martin said. The estimated life of Diavik, which is currently transitioning into a fully-underground mine, is expected to extend until 2022-24.