Minerals Council calls for faster inclusion of private electricity providers

JOHANNESBURG (miningweekly.com) – The Minerals Council South Africa supports the president Cyril Ramaphosaof the electricity recovery plan and urges the private sector to participate more quickly in the resolution of the worsening electricity crisis in the country.

Members of the Minerals Council have 6,500 MW of energy projects embedded in the pipeline, which will ease demand pressures on Eskom, giving it the space to carry out much-needed maintenance programmes.

The 89 projects of 29 mining companies are worth more than 100 billion rand.

The mining industry projects are among more than 8,000 MW of power projects planned by the private sector, benefiting from the removal of the 100 MW cap on unlicensed integrated power projects by President Ramaphosa in July.

Outlined plans to stabilize South Africa’s electricity supply included, as a primary objective, the stabilization and normalization of Eskom, which declared stage 6 load shedding on Sunday after multiple plant outages.

“It is essential that we achieve stabilization of the existing grid while we in the private sector do what is necessary to secure investment in the next stage of South Africa’s energy chapter by developing additional alternative sources of energy. ‘electricity in the form of renewable energy,’ said the CEO of the Minerals Council. Roger Baxter stated in a statement to Weekly mining.

“We know load shedding will be a risk for the next two years, but we must continue to put in place additional private sector supply as quickly as possible,” Baxter added.

Progress has been made on the registration deadline for private renewable energy and Eskom grid access projects, as well as the relaxation of environmental permits, but there are still unnecessary bottlenecks which delay investment. The Minerals Council and other business and energy user groups have raised these issues with the Presidency and relevant ministers.

CEO of Eskom André de Ruyter said the utility needed up to 6,000MW of additional power for its crews to run effective maintenance programs on its aging power plant fleet.

Energy projects in the mining industry are largely for self-use as the sector strives to be a net zero carbon emitter, in line with commitments from its global peers by 2050.

The industry has noted that Eskom is willing to buy power generated by third parties, as outlined in the president’s energy recovery plans, but for now the mines are focused on meeting their own needs. in order to reduce the pressure on the national network.

As reported by Weekly miningEskom aims to approach the market shortly with an offer to purchase up to 1,000MW of excess electricity which it says could be immediately available from existing independent power producers and large companies with of their own production capacity

Mining companies that have chosen to self-produce have found the business case to be extremely strong.

Gold Fields’ South Deep gold mine, west of Johannesburg, Gauteng, will produce its own solar power at just 8.5% of the cost of electricity from the national grid.

The JSE-listed and New York-listed company is also optimistic that it will succeed in increasing solar power generated from wind power.

Gold mining company Pan African Resources, which started with 10 MW, is now targeting an additional 30 MW. From his pioneering 10 MW venture, he saved R4 million in his first month of generation.

Additionally, the ongoing global energy transition presents a new opportunity for South Africa to build a clean and inclusive energy ecosystem that can create new and significant economic opportunities for the African continent.

This continent, with its vast natural reserves of abundant sun and wind, offers an inescapable opportunity to both decarbonise and create important new economic sectors – and many mining players have long pledged to play their part in making this opportunity a reality. .

About Mitchel McMillan

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