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NextSource Materials has announced that a Madagascar subsidiary of CrossBoundary Energy (CBE) has commenced the construction process for the solar and battery hybrid power plant for Phase 1 of the Molo Graphite Mine in Madagascar

AdobeStock 167571200The hybrid plant will consist of a solar PV facility, a battery energy storage system and diesel generators. (Image source: Adobe Stock)

This step was taken after the company executed a definitive energy services agreement with CBE’s subsidiary.

Earthworks and civil construction at the mine site are progressing according to schedule and will be ready for the arrival of the processing plant and auxiliary buildings in June 2022.

Completion of construction and plant commissioning is expected in Q3 2022, followed by a ramp up period of up to three months to achieve nameplate capacity.

The company has increased the construction budget for Phase 1 of the Molo Graphite Mine by approximately US$3mn to US$24mn plus an additional US$3mn for working capital.

CBE was selected to build, own, and operate the solar, battery and thermal hybrid energy power plant over a 20-year term on 23 November 2021. The hybrid plant will consist of a 2.6MW solar PV facility, a 1MWh battery energy storage system and a 3.1MW thermal facility (diesel generators). The  plant will be located adjacent to the Molo mine site and will provide up to 33% of the mine’s total Phase 1 electricity needs from renewable solar energy, with the remainder coming from thermal generators.

Construction of the hybrid plant has begun and all required licenses to initiate construction of the solar facility have been obtained. The thermal facility, solar facility and BESS are all expected to be installed and operational prior to initiating commissioning of the Molo processing plant in Q3 2022.

Craig Scherba, president and CEO, said, “The solar facility and battery energy storage system is integral to our commitment to minimise our carbon emissions and build a sustainable mine. Over the life of the project, we will aim to further reduce our reliance on fossil fuels with the added benefit of lower costs and therefore better project economics.”

During peak daylight hours, the solar facility and BESS will be capable of supplying up to 100% of the plant’s power requirements. The thermal facility will be used in combination to provide uninterrupted power supply and always ensure 100% power availability to the mine.