Rio Tinto's Largest Off-Grid Solar Power Plant Powers Up at Diavik Diamond Mine

Rio Tinto has achieved a significant milestone with the completion of its largest off-grid solar power plant at the Diavik Diamond Mine in Canada's Northwest Territories
Rio Tinto's Largest Off-Grid Solar Power Plant Powers Up at Diavik Diamond Mine

Rio Tinto has finished constructing a solar power plant at its Diavik Diamond Mine, marking the completion of Canada’s largest off-grid solar facility in the Northwest Territories. The newly installed 3.5 megawatt capacity plant, equipped with 6,620 panels, is anticipated to generate 4.2 million kilowatt-hours of solar energy annually. This is expected to significantly reduce diesel usage at the mine by one million liters per year and cut greenhouse gas emissions by 2,900 tonnes of CO2 equivalent annually, akin to removing 630 cars from the roads each year.

During the mine's closure phase, the solar plant will supply up to 25% of Diavik’s electricity needs, as the mine transitions from commercial production, slated to conclude by 2026, through to full closure by 2029. Notably, the plant features bi-facial panels designed to capture sunlight and reflections from the snowy landscape that covers Diavik for much of the year.

This solar initiative complements the existing wind power installation at Diavik, which has been operational since 2012 and stands as Canada’s largest in the North, having produced over 195 million kilowatt-hours of electricity to date.

Matthew Breen, Chief Operating Officer of Diavik Diamond Mine, expressed pride in advancing large-scale renewable energy projects in Canada’s Northern regions, emphasizing the project’s role in enhancing operational energy efficiency and environmental stewardship. The initiative received C$3.3 million in funding from the Government of the Northwest Territories’ Large Emitters GHG Reducing Investment Grant Program, highlighting its alignment with regional emissions reduction goals and carbon tax strategies.

Looking forward, Rio Tinto aims to continue leading decarbonization efforts globally, targeting a 50% reduction in Scope 1 and 2 greenhouse gas emissions by 2030, with aspirations for net zero emissions across its operations by 2050.

Diamond World