Annex B2.3. Background Information Document

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1 Annex B2.3 Background Information Document

2 Background Goldfields South Deep Mine, in partnership with Enel Green Power, proposes to design, construct, and operate 2x20MW Solar PV plants on Mine owned property within the Goldfields South Deep Mining Right in Westonaria, Gauteng, South Africa. The Solar PV Plant will be connected to the mines 11kV power grid. Environmental Resources Management (Pty) Ltd have been appointed as the independent Environmental Assessment Practitioner (EAP) to undertake the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) process for the proposed 2x20MW Solar PV Plant. Purpose The purpose of this Background Information Document (BID) is to brief Interested and Affected Parties (I&APs) about the EIA process that is being conducted for the proposed construction and operation of a 2x20MW Solar Photovoltaic (PV). In addition to supplying information about the proposed project and the EIA process, this BID also provides I&APs with the opportunity to: Register as stakeholders in the Public Participation Process; and Comment on and make contributions to the proposed project. The environmental Competent Authority will make a decision in accordance with the National Environmental Management Act (NEMA) and the Environmental EIA Regulations (2014). Please register as an interested and affected party and submit your comments on the proposed project either complete a response form, write a letter, call or the project EAP: Alan Cochran ERM Southern Africa (Pty) Ltd Postnet Suite 624, Private Bag x29, Gallo Manor 2052 Tel: Fax: Project Website: Project Need In order to diversify the Mine s energy mix, Goldfield s South Deep mine is considering alternative energy sources to supplement its current energy supply in order to ensure its business sustainability. The aim of the project is to enable South Deep to reduce reliance on grid power and to increase security of the energy supply. The EIA Process In terms of the 2014 EIA Regulations (Government Notices No. R 982 to 985 of 2014), the PV plant will trigger listed activities requiring environmental authorisation through a full Scoping and Environmental Impact Report (S&EIR). An EIA is a systematic process to identify positive and negative impacts of the project on the environment (biophysical, socio-economic and cultural conditions) associated with a proposed activity and the evaluation of alternatives or management measures to minimise negative and optimise positive impacts, thereby preventing substantial detrimental impacts on the environment. An EIA is conducted in three phases, namely: Scoping phase: to communicate the Project to I&APs, to identify possible positive and negative impacts, alternatives, as well as to determine the terms of reference for specialist studies to be conducted in the EIA phase. This will be set out in 1

3 the Scoping Report. The Draft Scoping Report for the Project will be made available for a thirty (30) day public comment period. Impact assessment phase: possible positive and negative impacts identified in the scoping report will be assessed in the Environmental Impact Report. The Environmental Impact Report will include Environmental Management Programme, which will detail proposed management measures to minimise negative impacts and enhance positive impacts. Decision-making phase: the competent authority will review the EIR and make decision to grant or refuse Environmental Authorisation. comments, will be submitted to the Department of Environmental Affairs for decision making. Project Description The proposed development includes the installation and operation of solar panels with a projected output of up to 40 MW at the South Deep Site (see map attached). A site alternatives assessment and site selection process will form part of the EIA process. The solar panels would be Photovoltaic Solar Panels arrays that will occupy up to a maximum of 120 ha (1.2 km 2 ). Figure 1 shows a typical Solar Panel. Figure 1: Example of a Solar Panel Each of these phases has an overarching Public Participation Process as outlined below. Public Participation Process You are invited to be part of the EIA process. The PPP is designed to provide sufficient and accessible information to I&APs in an objective manner to assist them to: Raise issues of concern and make suggestions for alternatives and enhanced benefits; Contribute local knowledge; Verify that their issues have been captured and considered by the technical investigations; and Comment on the findings of the EIA. The Draft Scoping Report for the Project will be made available for a thirty (30) day public comment period and as a stakeholder, you are invited to identify issues and concerns about the project pertaining to potential positive or negative impacts which will be investigated during the EIA process. The PV arrays are mounted on aluminium frames that are then attached to screw-foot foundations or concrete foundations, depending on soil conditions. The PV arrays will face north in order to capture the maximum sunlight. The final design and detailed layout of the development will be based on a number of environmental, social and technical factors that will be explored in the EIA phase. The findings of the EIA will assist I&APs to understand the extent of impacts and the draft EIA Report will be made available for a thirty (30) day public comment period. The Final Scoping Report and Environmental Impact Assessment Report, along with all stakeholder 2

4 Figure 2: Diagram illustrating the arrangement of solar panels with trackers The key components of the proposed solar power plant include the following: PV Arrays A number of PV arrays, as described above, will be arranged in rows that will cover the selected site and will be connected to one another by underground cables. Electrical Connections An inverter will connect to each row of PV panels to convert the direct current (DC) output to alternating current (AC). The inverters will be connected to a number of step-up transformers, which will convert the low voltage AC to a medium voltage suitable for distribution via a substation. Construction Prior to construction of the solar plant the site would be prepared as necessary, this will include removing vegetation, creating access roads and preparing the foundations. Once the PV components have arrived on site, technicians would complete the assembly and test the facility. Construction of the facilities will one 1 year to complete. Operation It is anticipated that, once operational, the facility will generate up to 40 MW of electricity which will be fed into the mines 11 kv power line to supply the mine with power. Figure 3: Example of a Solar PV Plant Grid Connection The Solar PV Plant will be connected the mines 11 kv emergency power grid. Additional Support Infrastructure Additional infrastructure on the site will include: Access roads for construction and maintenance vehicles; A permanent solar irradiation measuring panel to collect data on the solar resource at the site; A small office and storage building with security and ablution facilities; and Fencing around the site. Once the facility is complete and operational regular maintenance would be required to keep the PV cells in optimal working order. Decommissioning The Solar Plant will either be decommissioned after 25 years, or alternatively upgraded or an application submitted to obtain a new license. If decommissioned, all components would be removed and the site rehabilitated. 3