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Mining projects from MMG Limited, Mount Isa Mines and New Century Resources are set for a green energy boost as Australia’s largest solar farm officially launches.

The Dugald River solar farm will power key mines in outback Queensland’s North-West Minerals Province, a region known to host one of the largest critical minerals endowments in the world.

The 88-megawatt farm, owned by APA Group, boasts 180,000 solar panels across 200 hectares of land.

APA Group executive of operations Petrea Bradford told the ABC renewable energy is central to the future of responsible mining.

“More and more of our mining customers are looking for renewable energy infrastructure solutions which is an opportunity for us,” she said.

Bradford said APA has a dedicated team on the lookout for renewable energy supply opportunities for mines in the region.

“The north-west region has a huge renewable resource,” she said. “Our strategy for being in the north-west is to support our mining customers as they continue to look to decarbonise with renewable energy solutions.”

The Queensland Government estimates the North-West Minerals Province to be worth $500,000 billion, with a bounty of critical minerals like copper, vanadium, and zinc.

Queensland’s Minister for Resources Scott Stewart told the ABC access to reliable energy is holding back the region from a boom.

“When I go and visit mines out in that area, they talk about this as one of their biggest inhibitors to expansion,” he said.

While the Dugald River solar farm is significant, it’s not the only Queensland project in the pipeline.

The Queensland Government announced a $1.3 billion package late last year to progress work on the CopperString 2032 project.

The funding will see construction commence mid-2024, a significant milestone towards unlocking the North-West Minerals Province, and the renewable energy potential of north Queensland.

“CopperString 2032 is the largest ever economic development project in north Queensland, and the largest expansion to the power grid in Australia,” former Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said when the funding was announced.