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Hi, Johnny.  Great article.  I would like to recommend two people (& in no particular order) in regard to the opportunity - for that is what it is, and not just environmentally but in terms of costs savings too - of renewable energy powered mining operations, see below.  

1. PhD Candidate at University College London's Energy Institute, Joel Guilbaud, whose research topic is "The economic potential of hybrid renewable power systems for the mining industry", see more at https://www.bartlett.ucl.ac.uk/energy/people/students/joel-guilbaud

2. Fellow GOXIan, Joseph Kirschke, Director- Extractive CSR Solutions; LinkedIn profile at https://www.linkedin.com/in/josephkirschke

Joseph has long championed this very topic, regarding which he has encyclopaedic knowledge.

Best, Daniel

Masses of food for thought, here. Really super post. Thanks so much, Johnny. 

However these variables do come together, the general and practical interests of folk in developing economies with fossil fuel reserves will need to come first. I don't think African leaders are going to accept a heavier reliance on aid to fund new energy prospects in return for giving up what's already their own property. Interesting stuff about renewables and electricity in your piece, I must say. Far too little is said about expanding the grid across Africa in general dialogue around development.