By Philemon Jambaya
THE mining sector has been affected by incessant power outages but Zimbabwe’s Mashonaland West-based gold mine, Venice Mine, has adopted the use of solar energy to maximise production.
Venice Mining has installed at least 116 solar panels which produce 400kilovolts (kva) during the day. The mine produces at least 16 kilograms of gold per annum in Zimbabwe.
Besides being environmentally sustainable, solar energy plays a key role as an alternative energy source. Usually located in remote areas, mining companies can boost their operational reliability through this off-grid energy solution.
The highly reliable, photovoltaic panels can also be used as backup power supplies.
In an interview, environmental expert Batsirai Kasuso said:
“There is no doubt that the sun is able to generate huge amounts of energy and it is used not only to power homes and appliances but the mining industry is making good use of it.
“The mining operators will no longer have to depend on the other sources of energy,” said Kasuso.
Venice Mine owner Johannes Hundermark, at the time of the writing of this article, said he was in talks with the Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority (ZESA), with the aim of supplying power into their Kadoma electricity grid through a barter trade arrangement.
“We have set up 116 solar panels as power substitute since we are experiencing load shedding in the country, we are also in talks with ZESA so that we can as well supply power to their grid,” said Hundermark.