TNDC installing solar at Schaft Creek
North of 60 Mining News - October 17, 2023
Last updated 10/17/2023 at 2:35pm
Tahltan Nation's business arm has partnered with Solvest to install solar systems at mining project in Tahltan Territory.
With the goal of advancing clean energy in Northern British Columbia and adding to its business endeavors, Tahltan Nation Development Corp. has partnered with Solvest to identify and develop renewable solar power solutions that reduce diesel consumption and carbon emissions within the traditional territory of the Tahltan First Nation.
"We are excited to collaborate with Solvest to accelerate our goal to develop and adopt clean energy technologies within Tahltan Territory," said Tahltan Nation Development Corp. CEO Paul Gruner. "This partnership will leverage the collective expertise and resources of both organizations to develop and implement renewable solar power solutions that will benefit the Tahltan Nation and advance our vision of sustainable development."
As the business arm of the Tahltan Nation – a First Nation whose traditional territory covers 70% of BC's famed Golden Triangle – TNDC's primary goal is to create economic prosperity and self-reliance for the Tahltan Nation.
From its roots in residential construction, TNDC has built a portfolio of businesses and partnerships that provide services to every stage of mining.
With its strategic partnership with Solvest, the company has now added solar systems to its offerings.
"This partnership not only aligns with our commitment to environmental stewardship but also presents significant economic opportunities. We look forward to working together to create a cleaner and more prosperous future," Gruner added.
Schaft Creek solar
The first solar and battery installation under this partnership is at Schaft Creek, a large copper-gold-molybdenum-silver project being advanced under a joint venture between Teck Resources Ltd. (75%) and Copper Fox Metals Inc. (25%).
A preliminary economic assessment prepared for Copper Fox in 2021 outlined plans for a mine at Schaft Creek capable of producing roughly 5 billion lb of copper, 3.7 million oz of gold, 226 million lb of molybdenum, and 16.4 million oz of silver over 21 years of mining.
Teck, which is the operator at Schaft Creek, is currently carrying out exploration, along with geotechnical, environmental, cultural, and other studies, in preparation for a mining decision and permitting.
This work is supported by an 85-person camp traditionally powered by diesel generators.
TNDC entered into a three-year leasing arrangement with Teck for the solar power equipment for Schaft Creek, where Teck has the option to buy out the lease after the initial term.
It is estimated that this solar array and battery installation will reduce carbon emissions for camp power by more than 80%, resulting in significant cost savings for the Schaft Creek JV over the next three years and beyond.
"Implementing solar and battery technology at the Schaft Creek Project will reduce both our greenhouse gas emissions and our reliance on diesel fuel," said Teck Resources CEO Jonathan Price.
As a bonus for camp workers, the solar-powered camp will be much quieter without the steady drone of diesel generators.
Solvest has co-invested with TNDC for 25% of the project.
"We have been impressed with TNDC's proactive approach and commitment to making a positive impact in a short timeframe," said Solvest CEO Ben Power. "Both TNDC and Teck worked collaboratively to create a win-win arrangement in a matter of a few months for mutual economic benefits – without the requirement for government grants. We look forward to replicating this success with TNDC at other mining projects."
Beyond the immediate benefits at Schaft Creek, this project provides Teck with a type of pilot for solar installations at other remote operations.
"Using battery storage with the solar panels means that we can obtain 24-hour power even in a remote location and learn more about the potential for this approach to reduce emissions at other sites," Price added.
Considering that Teck has other copper and zinc exploration and development assets in Northern BC, this could result in more business for TNDC's new solar division.