Inverters, Renewables, Solar

FIMER powering Australian mining with clean energy

Abra Base Metals Mine has turned to Pacific Energy to guarantee reliable clean power at its remote site in Western Australia.

The mining industry is a critical pillar of the Australian economy. It has an essential role in the nation’s ambition to become a clean energy superpower. With wind and solar megaprojects rolling out during the next decade, the sector is providing the resources to ensure infrastructure gets built.

The mining industry is synonymous with its carbon footprint, however it is taking steps to reduce its emissions. With Australia committed to a 43 per cent reduction in emissions by 2030, and net zero by 2050, mining is innovating to become cleaner and greener.

This is where renewables entities such as FIMER Australia can assist. With a history of solar-inverter excellence, the Italian-based company can help support mining heavyweights to deliver clean energy solutions at scale.

Abra Base Metals Mine is a high-grade lead-silver mine being constructed in the Edmund Sedimentary Basin, in the Gascoyne region between Meekatharra and Newman, in Western Australia, approximately 1000km northeast of Perth. It is majority owned by Galena Mining Limited, which has a 60 per cent share in the site.

The mine’s lead-silver resource is 230 metres below the surface. Exploration drilling has identified the potential of copper-gold mineralisation directly below the currently defined lead-silver mineralisation.

Due to the remote nature of the mine, Galena Mining has sought to establish an onsite hybrid thermal and renewable power station to ensure reliable energy, lower the mine’s operating costs, and reduce its carbon footprint.

The off-grid power station was completed in 2022 and is operated by Pacific Energy. It is a 21MW fully integrated system combining a 6MWac solar farm, 2MW battery energy storage system with a 10MW high-efficiency/low-emissions gas generation plant and 1100kl LNG storage and re-gas facility.

The solar farm – which features 15,024 mono-facial 460W panels that provide 30 per cent of power to the site – and BESS system were designed and constructed by Pacific Energy.

In mid-2021, FIMER was engaged by Pacific Energy’s renewables division to provide a 8.8MVA solution to meet the mine site’s energy requirements.

The company has supplied two 4.6MW (4565kVA) FIMER PVS980-58 central inverters that are guaranteed to deliver high performance in the harsh Western Australian desert, where temperatures can reach 50 degrees Celsius.

“We have been extremely impressed with the capability and responsiveness of FIMER’s local and global product team throughout the project, specifically the product selection process and commissioning of products,” says Daniel Jackson, Pacific Energy’s managing director – renewables.

“Their level of communication provided us with comfort that our requirements have been met and we could meet our project milestones.”

FIMER’s PVS980-58 inverter performs in harsh environments, including extreme summer heat. It is durable and equipped with electrical and mechanical protection to provide reliable service life of at least 25 years.

“FIMER’s PVS980 inverters have proprietary technology using self-contained, two-phase thermo-syphon heat exchangers,” says Jason Venning, country manager at FIMER Australia.

“These are totally passive and provide high performance with a low-pressure drop, with an efficiency equivalent to liquid cooling and with the simplicity of an air-cooled system. This enables the inverters to be installed in high temperatures while still providing reliable performance.”

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