Idle Iron Duchess mine in SA may be turned into 90MW hydro plant

The Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) is to support a $1.7 million feasibility study (FS) regarding the conversion of the disused Iron Duchess mine near Whyalla, South Australia into a 90 megawatt (MW) pumped hydro energy storage (PHES) plant.

ARENA will commit $500,000 to the project on behalf of the South Australian Government.

The FS is designed to investigate whether the iron ore pit could be used as a reservoir for the proposer PHES plant. First stage of production is expected to be completed by late 2018, and will include network and engineering studies, as well as geotechnical investigation and commercial evaluation.

Should the project go ahead, it is expected to cost $170 million, be built by 2022 and be called the Middleback Ranges PHES Plant.