JOHANNESBURG (miningweekly.com) - The South African Coal Road Map (SACRM) was officially "out of the starting blocks" said SACRM chairperson Ian Hall, who also noted that a project manager, which would kick-off the project from August, has been appointed.
The SACRM has a budget of R2,9-million to fund its activities, but it was hoped that with solid governance structures in place, it would be able to gather additional funding to take the project further.
Cape Town-based consultancy The Green House has been appointed as project manager, and the next step was to establish focus groups for each of the issues affecting the coal sector.
The Green House would define the current state of the coal sector in South Africa, and would make some baseline projections for the next 25 years, as well as establish alternative scenarios for the future of coal in South Africa.
Contributors to the focus groups would be industry stakeholders, such as coal mining and coal consuming company representatives, experts, academics and government.
These results would be presented to the SACRM board. The board was made formal in March, and consisted of the Department of Energy (DoE), Anglo Coal, Exxaro, Sasol, Eskom, the South African National Energy Association, and the South African National Energy Research Institute.
The compilation of this report was described as stage two of the SACRM process, and was expected to take between 12 months and 18 months.
Speaking at a Fossil Fuel Foundation conference on Wednesday, Hall explained that the first stage of the SACRM was to set up governance structures, which made sure to include all stakeholders, but that was also not in contravention of any competition laws. Governmental representation was also important.
The first stage focused on establishing: a sensible budget; full stakeholder participation; transparent and open communication; regular feedback; and respect for the intellectual property of participants.
Hall noted that the process to date had been a slow one, as the split of the Department of Minerals and Energy into the Department of Mineral Resources and the DoE caused some delays and funding shortfalls.
The coal roadmap was expected to provide a complete overview of coal in South Africa, and the issues facing the sector. It was considered to be of national importance, as it could be a reference for strategic policy and decision making in the country.
It would also assist industry participants to get a clear idea of infrastructure developments taking place, as well as what may be required in future.
Hall added that contributions from existing industry expertise such as Coaltech, various research institutions, and documents that have already been drawn up, would be tapped into as far as possible.