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Editorial Insight
 
Clean coal a must, cutters want diamonds, mine using solar power
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22nd February 2013
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The goal of limiting the global temperature rise to only 2 °C by 2020 would be impossible without carbon capture and storage (CCS), European Union delegation to South Africa head of development cooperation Richard Young told a clean-coal conference. Read on page 26 of this edition of Mining Weekly of Young’s suggestion that some of the funding previously devoted to renewable energy should be considered for CCS initiatives. State-owned power utility Eskom group executive for sustainability Dr Steve Lennon told the same conference that, in his view, the industry had taken its foot off the CCS accelerator and that CCS needed to be revitalised. Lennon added that South Africa’s reliance on coal to produce energy would not change soon and, if CCS initiatives were fast-tracked, South Africa would be able to reach its 2020 emission-reduction targets.

More diamonds should be made available to the local diamond cutting-and-polishing industry to add greater value to the South African economy, says diamond and tanzanite jewellery designer and manufacturer Yair Shimansky. Read on page 24 of this edition of Mining Weekly of Shimansky pointing out that most of the diamonds mined locally were not processed locally, which had resulted in a tenfold fall of the number of people employed in diamond processing. “Five years ago, about 20 000 people were employed in the cutting-and-polishing sector of the diamond industry in South Africa. Currently, this figure is only about 2 000,” Shimansky noted, which was so despite South Africa still producing high-quality diamonds for which there was a sturdy demand. He pointed out that the burgeoning market for diamonds in Asia had created a supply shortfall, which provided South Africa with an opportunity to grow its diamond industry. As the value of diamonds continued to increase, investment bankers were also looking to diamonds as a way of capturing the value of a mobile asset. It was up to the South African government, he added, to create a comfortable environment for more investment in diamond mining in South Africa, which would, in turn, provide more scope for local value-add.

A 1 MW off-grid solar photovoltaic (PV) facility has been integrated into the electricity supply system at Cronimet’s chrome mine in South Africa’s Limpopo province. Read on page 20 of this edition of Mining Weekly of Cronimet introducing the PV facility in an effort to reduce its reliance on diesel generators, after being unable to secure an electricity connection from Eskom. The 4 170-panel amenity, which will produce 1.8 GWh and displace 450 000 ℓ/y of diesel, is expected pay for itself in fewer than four years. The solar system generates electricity during the day and switches over to the diesel generators for night operations. The undisclosed investment is believed to be in line with those outlined during the first bidding window under South Africa’s Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement Programme, which were capped at R2.75/kWh, but which fell during the second bid window to R1.65/kWh.

Edited by: Martin Zhuwakinyu

 

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