Caledonia Mining, a Canadian-based mining company, revealed. It plans to use the US$13 million raised by its recent stock offering to support the development of its solar power plant at its Blanket gold mine in Gwanda, Zimbabwe.
The company is listed on the New York Stock Exchange. It is planned to construct this $18 million photovoltaic project in three 6.55 MW phases. It expects that the second phase of the facility will generate enough electricity to meet the peak demand of the mine. It will plan the third phase of the project to meet the future peak power demand of the Blanket site.
Caledonia Mining said: "The excess electricity generated by the plant will be metered or distributed to the grid in the case of a bank agreement with the utility provider, and the excess kWh will be deposited in the bank or billed to Blanket’s monthly Utility accounts." "Therefore, the cashability of the bank agreement is critical to the success of the second phase."
The company tendered a photovoltaic project in October. At the time, the company stated that the power plant owner must provide electricity to the mine under a 13-year contract. The owner must also open up shares for mine operators to participate in the project. The energy storage component was included in the tender, but it was not included in the first phase. Caledonia Mining did not provide any other details about the storage plan in its website update.
Zimbabwe urgently needs new power generation capacity because it imports most of its electricity from South Africa. This arrangement has become a problem due to ongoing problems related to the troubled South African utility company Eskom.
In order to minimize the impact of frequent power shortages, the diesel generator set operated by the Caledonian Mining Company in the Blanket mine produces 18.4 MW. This is enough to meet about 3% of the site's electricity demand.