Mining giant Rio Tinto has announced plans to construct Canada’s largest solar power plant in the Northwest Territories. The facility, consisting of 6,600 solar panels, will generate approximately 4,200 megawatt-hours of carbon-free electricity per year to power the Diavik Diamond Mine.
The solar power plant will play a crucial role in supplying up to 25% of the mine’s electricity needs during its closure work until 2029. Commercial production at the site is expected to conclude in early 2026.
Rio Tinto estimates that the project will reduce diesel consumption by one million liters annually and cut emissions by 2,900 metric tons of CO2 equivalent. Funding for the solar power plant will be provided through the Government of the Northwest Territories’ Large Emitters GHG Reducing Investment Grant program and federal tax credits.
Alongside its existing wind-diesel hybrid power facility, which currently provides electricity for the site, Diavik’s renewable energy capabilities will be significantly enhanced by the addition of the new solar facility. Construction is set to commence in the next few weeks, with full operation expected in the first half of next year.