UK-based upstream-renewables player Chariot and French company Total Eren have signed a memorandum of understanding to provide solar power to a South African mine.

The proposed project is the first to be announced by Chariot and Total Eren - in which TotalEnergies has a significant stake – as part of a three-year deal the two companies signed in November to assess wind and solar power supply options to mines in Africa.

The MoU has been agreed with Tharisa, a platinum group metals and chrome producer that is listed on the Johannesburg and London stock exchanges.

Chariot and Total Eren aim to develop, finance, construct, own, operate and maintain a solar photovoltaic (PV) project for the supply of electricity to the Tharisa mine in the North West province.

This solar project is expected to supply about 40 MW at peak capacity with demand expected to increase over the life of the mine.

This MoU is the first step towards implementation of the project and signing of a long-term power purchase agreement (PPA) for the supply of electricity on a take-or-pay basis.

Benoit Garrivier, Chariot’s transitional power chief executive, said: “This is a great outcome for (us) and demonstrates the financial and sustainable benefits that our offering can bring to mining companies operating in Africa.”

“Together with Total Eren,” he added, “we are excited to start working on the financing and development of the project and we will update the market further on this and other opportunities that we are progressing in due course.”

Fabienne Demol, Total Eren’s executive vice-president and global head of business development, commented: “We are very pleased to be entering into this MoU with Tharisa. Through our partnership with Chariot, we are keen to assist mining companies in Africa to reduce their carbon intensity and energy costs, via implementing renewable power solutions into their operations.”

Chariot’s acting chief executive Adonis Pouroulis beneficially owns 39.86 % of the total voting rights in Tharisa.

Tharisa’s South African mine is located in the south-western limb of the Bushveld geological complex - home to more than 70% of the world’s platinum and chrome resources - and has a 20-year open-pit life and the ability to extend operations underground by at least an additional 40 years.

The company also owns Salene Chrome, a development stage, low-cost, open-pit asset, located adjacent to the Great Dyke in Zimbabwe.

Tharisa has made a commitment to reduce its carbon emissions by 30% by 2030 and the development of a roadmap to be net carbon neutral by 2050.

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