Paris-based Total Eren - in which supermajor TotalEnergies has a 30% stake - has teamed up with London-listed Chariot to develop a significant solar and wind farm in Zambia, that when on stream will power major copper and gold mines

The renewables project aims to provide green energy to the copper mining operations of First Quantum Minerals (FQM) , and comes about two months after TotalEren and Chariot signed a deal to develop a solar farm to power a copper and gold mine in South Africa.

In late 2021, the two companies agreed to work together to provide some 20 GW of renewable power to African mining operations.

Chariot said its transitional power division and Total Eren aim to build a 430 MW solar and wind power project.

Construction is due to start next year, although the project backers did not reveal the start-up date.

FQM has two major mines in Zambia, both located near Solwezi in North Western Province close to the border with the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Kansanshi is an open pit mine and came online in 2005.

It is Africa's most productive copper mine, according to FQM, with an expansion project being lined up.

Sentinel is the other copper mine, which came online in 2016 and was Zambia's largest infrastructure project since the Kariba dam in the late 1950s.

This solar-cum-win project, said Chariot, would complement and expand Zambia's existing renewable energy capacity and would provide FQM with competitive and sustainable power for its Zambian mining operations, helping it deliver on its commitment to decarbonise as it seeks to reduce its carbon footprint by 30% by 2025.

Wind and solar: part of First Quantum Minerals' Kansanshi mine in Zambia Photo: FIRST QUANTUM MINERALS

Commenting on the plan, Anthony Mukutuma, general manager of FQM's Kansanshi mine, said: "The project will offer significant benefits to Zambia, by unlocking some of its world-class renewable potential. It will help the country realise some of its untapped solar and wind resources by attracting large-scale foreign investment and adding significant renewable energy capacity."

"In line with Zambia's Vision 2030, the project will further contribute to improving Zambia's energy-mix, reducing expensive regional power imports and exposure to fuel prices," he added.

Fabienne Demol, Total Eren's global head of business development, said that "the combined solar and wind capacity will offer strong complementarity and power generation around the clock, with solar produced during the day and wind mainly at night."

He pointed out the scheme is also "a natural fit" with Zambia's hydropower resource seasonality, heavily focused on the Kariba dam that straddles the border with Zimbabwe.

"The project's energy mix reaches its production peak during the dry season when the country is most exposed to droughts," explained Demol. "Increasing the share of renewables will improve the country's carbon footprint and address current and future challenges related to climate change."

Laurent Coche, executive director at Chariot's transitional power division, said the development "further demonstrates" the company's commitment "to assisting mining companies in Africa transition to renewable energy sources for their operations, with Zambia having an abundance of wind and solar potential."

According to the International Hydropower Association, Zambia has 2.4 GW of installed hydro capacity, meeting some 94% of energy demand.

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