Every Friday, SAfm’s radio anchor Sakina Kamwendo speaks to Martin Creamer, publishing editor of Engineering News and Mining Weekly. Reported here is this Friday’s At the Coalface transcript:
Kamwendo: The giant global mining company Glencore is going all out to help Eskom meet all its coal needs.
Creamer: I was very pleasantly surprised when we journalists spoke to Ivan Glasenberg in London this week. He was enthusiastic and he wants to do whatever the company can to make sure that Eskom has enough coal. He said already they are working around the clock seven day a week. They are trucking coal and railing coal and doing everything they can.
He said he has also signed up more coal agreements so that next year in 2019 Glencore will actually supply more coal to Eskom then they did this year. He also updated us on his Chevron deal, which is a very pro South African deal. Although Ivan Glasenberg is resident in Switzerland and the company operates out of London, he is a South African. He grew up here and he was educated here. He said that he has done the Chevron South Africa deal and the black empowerment part of it is very interesting.
They provided funding and the direction and advise and Off the Shelf, which is a black-owned South African company, has actually taken over the assets of Chevron and Glencore will then get shares in it as well. I think that deal will be concluded in the first quarter of next year. It is a fantastic thing that they have invested in Chevron, so they have taken all the Caltex assets. Even those fuel stations downstream they will be working and managing.
Kamwendo: Gauteng provincial government approval has been obtained for a special economic zone (SEZ) to manufacture fuel cells.
Creamer: It gets me very excited, because when I see fuel cells I see platinum and platinum is hosted overwhelming in South Africa. The platinum price at the moment is low and you need all sorts of marketing effort now to get it up. The decision of the Gauteng Industrial Development Zone to set up an SEZ, as they call it, a special economic zone, in Springs that will focus on building hydrogen fuel cells, is really pleasing.
The ground for that has been given to the Gauteng government by Impala Platinum, which has a refinery out there and will be working with the government to make sure that we get components of fuel cells going so that the world can turn to it. I see it all over the place. Today’s Economist devoted 12 pages on the hydrogen fuel cells and the hydrogen economy and how this is coming into the world.
Kamwendo: Soweto-born entrepreneur Ruli Diseko is taking the world by storm with the development of a new battery materials plant in Limpopo.
Creamer: This is incredible. Thukadu is a metals and energy company led by a 35-year-old Ruli Diseko. His first job he started earning R4 500 a month in 2005. He is now controlling R200-million worth of assets. It is a brilliant stroke of genius by him to see a gap in the market for battery minerals. We talk about platinum here, but the world is also talking about battery minerals, because they see the electric car coming in very early. He sees the opportunity of taking over the nickel sulphate crude.
The crude nickel sulphate that Lonmin was producing. Lonmin is a platinum company and focusses on platinum and so it had this stream of crude that it wasn't really turning into high purity product. Along came Ruli Diseko from Thukadu and they are going to create high-purity nickel sulphate, which is in high demand in the world. They are going to, next year, go commercial and that will mean that they will export it.
So, it is set to be a fantastic revenue earner for South Africa and a great business for this entrepreneur Ruli Diseko, who is really setting the world on fire in South Africa. This is a South Africa first by getting ahead of the game with high purity nickel sulphate, which will be sold into the world
Kamwendo: Thanks very much. Martin Creamer is publishing editor of Engineering News and Mining Weekly.