280MW wind project secured for Rio Tinto and Sibanye-Stillwater

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African Infrastructure Investment Managers (AIIM), a division of Old Mutual Alternative Investments, has announced the financial close of two significant renewable energy projects, the Khangela and Umsinde Emoyeni wind farms. Each boasting a capacity of 140MW, these wind farms are set to supply renewable energy to the operations of mining giants Rio Tinto’s Richards Bay Minerals (RBM) and Sibanye-Stillwater.

The projects have been spearheaded by AIIM’s renewable energy project development platform, ACED. Reatile Renewables, a prominent player in the renewable energy sector, has co-invested in the projects alongside the AIIM-managed IDEAS Fund, one of South Africa’s largest domestic infrastructure equity funds.

Rand Merchant Bank (RMB), a division of FirstRand Bank Limited, is the sole mandated lead arranger for both projects.

Operations and maintenance services for the projects, once built, will be provided by AIIM’s in-house operator, EIMS. “We are immensely proud to have achieved financial close and construction commencement on another two private renewables projects in partnership with some of South Africa’s key mining houses,” said James Cumming, GM of ACED.

The deal entails the sale of power to the mining houses through 20-year Power Purchase Agreements. The wind farms are situated near Murraysburg in the Western Cape, with a small portion of the proposed development site falling into the Northern Cape.

Sibanye makes environmental gains

“Financial close of the Umsinde Emoyeni wind farm marks another critical step in our journey to carbon neutrality by 2040,” said Sibanye-Stillwater CEO, Neal Froneman.

“The renewable energy secured through our four PPAs will enable a stepped reduction in our carbon footprint, aiming to contribute not only to mitigate the effects of climate change, but also enhancing the sustainability and shared value creation of our SA operations through favourable pricing relative to current supply.”

"We continue to develop and execute energy solutions that contribute to the delivery of our strategy"

Windlab South Africa (now Seriti Green) was the early-stage developer of the sites, which were then acquired and developed to financial close by ACED.

Cumming added, “Not only will the projects provide Rio’s Richards Bay Minerals and Sibanye Stillwater with clean energy for their operations, but they will also create jobs and development funding streams to support and grow local communities living adjacent to the projects.”

The addition of increased power generation capacity to the national grid will contribute to offsetting the power deficit currently being experienced in the country. These deals mark a significant milestone for the ACED team and the rest of the team.

MD at RBM and Rio Tinto Iron and Titanium (RTIT) African Operations, Werner Duvenhage, emphasised the significance of this project, stating, “This project is expected to reduce our annual emissions by about 470kt CO2e, equivalent to about 20% of our baseline emissions, and fulfil approximately 26% of RBM’s existing energy requirements.”

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