Plans to develop a 1.1-gigawatt solar farm in Gladstone, Australia, received a major boost on Wednesday when mining giant Rio Tinto announced that it had agreed to buy all the power generated from the site for 25 years.

No financial details were disclosed.

The country's largest solar project, the Upper Calliope plant in Queensland, will be built and operated by renewables company European Energy Australia, pending development and grid connection approvals, Rio Tinto said in a news release.

The Anglo-Australian miner said the plant will power its three production sites - the Boyne aluminum smelter, the Yarwun alumina refinery and the Queensland Alumina refinery.

The company estimates that Upper Calliope would have the potential to lower Rio Tinto's operating carbon emissions by 1.8 million metric tons per year.

"This agreement is a first important step in our work to repower our Gladstone operations and illustrates our commitment to keeping sustainably powered industry in Central Queensland," Rio Tinto Chief Executive Jakob Stausholm said. The construction of Upper Calliope is targeted to start next year or in 2026 and, when complete, it will meet about 5% of Queensland's power demand, Rio Tinto said.

The farm will cover 6,000 acres, employ 1,000 people during construction and support 100 direct and indirect jobs once it becomes operational, the company added.


This content was created by Oil Price Information Service, which is operated by Dow Jones & Co. OPIS is run independently from Dow Jones Newswires and The Wall Street Journal.


--Reporting by Abdul Latheef,; Editing by Michael Kelly,

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

January 24, 2024 09:59 ET (14:59 GMT)

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