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Forming Flagship Pumped Hydro Facility from Gold Mine

Kidston pumped hydro project gold mine

In order to world’s first alteration of an obsolete gold mine into a pumped-storage hydroelectric power facility, the tunneling work has been commenced in Far North Queensland, Australia on the Kidston Pumped Hydro Project.

Comprising of two former mining pits functioning as upper and lower reservoirs, this plan is Australia’s first pumped hydro project for over 40 years and is managed by renewable energy and storage company Genex. With a maximum water head of 218m among them, the natural battery storage facility is estimated to produce up to 250MW of rapid response power for the Australian electricity grid.

The principal access tunnel that is 1.5km long and is going to lead to the underground powerhouse cavern placed 250m beneath the ground, has been begun to build by EPC joint venture John Holland and McConnell Dowell. While e determined date for completion of this tunnel is spring 2022, drilling and blasting the 6 x 6m tunnel will be undertaken on a 24/7 basis. Other tunnels – headrace and tailrace – and shafts are also part of the project.

Generation of Electricity will be during morning and evening peak periods when water is runes from the upper reservoir down into the lower reservoir, in the process driving reversible turbines in the underground powerhouse; the electricity generated will be routed to the national power grid. During low-peak periods, water will be pumped back up to the higher reservoir using a combination of on-site-generated solar electricity and grid power. This water will be stored ready for the cycle to begin again.

Due to the existence of the infrastructure which includes mining pits, accommodation camp, airstrip, and water supply, this US$560m project has low expenditures. Additionally, being the third-largest electricity storage project in the country, as well as the first to be extended by the private sector, this project is invaluable. The scheduled time for completion of this project is the last 3 months of 2024 by Genex.

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