The mining company Anglo American has announced the start-up of a floating photovoltaic system located in the tailings pond Las Tórtolas, in the Colina district, near the Los Bronces mine, of copper and molybdenum, a pioneering project in the country and in the world.
In a statement , it is explained that it is “the first photovoltaic plant built on a tailings deposit worldwide”.
The tailings are the set of toxic waste resulting from mining processes, generally a water deposit of considerable size in which minerals of all types are concentrated, usually constituted by a mixture of ground rocks and heavy metals.
The photovoltaic system, whose inauguration ceremony was attended by the Minister of Mining, Baldo Prokurica, is composed of 256 panels of 330 W each, polycrystalline modules of 72 cells, double glass without aluminum frame, with capacity to generate 86 kW altogether . This floating solar island, the first in the country, is connected to a service room from where the energy generated by the system is monitored daily. It will reduce emissions by 58 tons of CO2 per year and generate 150,000 kWh / year. It is built to withstand extreme weather conditions such as winds up to 210 km / h or earthquakes.
In addition, while making use of a space that until now was not, will improve photovoltaic electricity generation “thanks to the natural cooling effect of the system, product of the difference in temperature between water and the environment,” he explains.
The objective is that in addition to sustainable electricity generation to supply different aspects of mining production, it serves to reduce evaporation by 80% over the area it covers and improve the efficient use of water, a good that suffers a shortage crisis in the central zone of the country, where the Los Bronces mine is located. Therefore, it is expected “to reduce the evaporation of water on the surface of Las Tórtolas, in order to increase the availability for recirculation in the mining process”.
It is anticipated that there will be a monitoring of the benefits of the photovoltaic system during the next months, since there is the foresight to extend this pilot stage to a larger one.