Dr Anthony Lynham


Recycling an old gold mine into a renewable energy project

Kidston Solar Project in North Queensland

What could be better for Queensland’s environment and jobs than recycling an old gold mine into a renewable energy project?

Recycling is one of the easiest ways to protect our environment. I’m really pleased the Queensland Government is supporting a project to recycle the former Kidston Gold Mine near Townsville into a solar and hydro electric generator.

Genex Power has been given special status so that the Queensland Government can help them navigate the approvals needed to revive the former Kidston Gold Mine into a hydro-electric and large scale solar energy generator. The project is expected to create 500 jobs in North Queensland.

This is a world first – and it’s right here in Queensland.

The Queensland Government has committed to generate 50% of our energy from renewable sources by 2030. This project has the potential to go a long way towards meeting this goal.


  • $58 million project located in old Kidston Gold Mine, 280 kilometres north-west of Townsville.
  • a 150 megawatt solar power generation farm and,
  • a 330 megawatt pumped storage hydroelectric scheme, using the former mine pits and their stored water.
  • 185kms of transmission line to carry power to the coast and the main Powerlink line between Townsville and Cairns.
  • A first, in terms of co-locating large scale solar with large scale energy storage, and a world first using a disused mine site for hydro-electric power generation
  • When completed Kidston Gold Mine will become Australia’s third largest hydro power generator.
  • Work is due to start on the solar farm in the second half of 2016.

The design of the hydro project proposes for water to be released from one of the former mine pits into the other through reversible turbines. This is similar to Wivenhoe Power Station at Lake Wivenhoe, and the Snowy Mountains Hydro-electric Scheme in New South Wales.

During off-peak power consumption periods, the turbines will function as pumps and pump the water back into the upper reservoir to repeat the cycle.