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Windmills at minesites - the idea is catching on

March 07, 2012

Last year, Diavik Diamonds announced their intention to install windmills at the Diavik Mine. Now Xstrata has followed suit with plans for wind power at the Raglan mine.

Diavik diamonds mine has awarded Det’on cho Nahanni construction the bid to do the civil works on 4 windmills being built at the mine site. The four 2.3 megawatt turbines will be constructed in the summer 2012. With a capacity of 9.2 megawatts, they will cut Diavik’s diesel consumption by about four million litres per year.

When installed Diavik will be home to the world’s largest remote wind-diesel power installation.  Diavik’s business model of partnering with governments will be watched closely.

Meanwhile Nunavik’s Xstrata’s Raglan mine, located on the far northern tip of Quebec, is in the preliminary stages of designing a wind turbine park at the site which would be operation by 2015. Xstrata wants to install enough turbines to yield six megawatts of power. That would meet about 30 per cent of the mine’s power needs when the wind turbines operate at full capacity. Xstrata has provided a project notice to Quebec’s department of the environment, who must approve a permit for a wind farm.

The Government of Nunavut and Qulliq Energy are actively investigating wind energy as a way of reducing diesel fuel costs.


It makes sense that large off-the-grid mining operations facing very expensive fuel costs would consider wind energy, particularly when the technology is getting better and better.