Our next project will be an 8 MW solar PV plant at Barberton mines. We have completed the environmental and feasibility studies for the plant and completed permitting and obtained board approval and construction commenced in September 2022. Indigenous trees from the site have been relocated to other areas on the mine where alien invasive vegetation has been removed.
With the recent closing of the acquisition of Mogale Gold and Mintails SA Soweto Cluster transaction, we will be investigating the potential to install solar PV generation for those operations from the outset.
Ultimately, we are targeting to have 30 MW of solar capacity in place by 2024, which would produce about 75 000 MWh of power a year, save about R100 million a year in electricity bills and reduce our carbon emissions by 80 000 t/CO₂ a year.
Beyond solar, we are investigating battery technology, other renewable energy projects including wind farms (which may be off site), and as well as the potential to wheel power into the national grid and earn carbon credits for our operations.
Our goal is not only self-generation of power, but also greater energy efficiency, to limit our footprint. In 2022, we reduced our electricity consumption to 1.38 million GJ from 1.40 million GJ in 2021 despite increased gold production. Some of the energy efficiency initiatives we have introduced include high-efficiency motors and compressors and are investigating battery operated locomotives and LHDs for use underground.