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Coal still relevant despite backlash – investment firm

AIMING HIGH Menar aims to maintain stability and efficiency at its existing operations, many of which are coal mines in South Africa

VUSLAT BAYOGLU Menar will participate in a panel discussion at this year’s London Indaba – to be held at the Intercontinental London Park Lane hotel in London, in the UK, from June 26 to 27

TECHNOLOGY FOR THE WIN Clean coal technologies can more efficiently use coal and reduce emissions, consequently resulting in the production of coal with less environmental impact

TO COAL OR NOT TO COAL The company will engage in a panel discussion about whether coal is still a viable commodity amid current global trends and the backlash against fossil fuels

9th June 2023

By: Sabrina Jardim

Creamer Media Online Writer

     

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Despite the prevailing global transition away from coal-based forms of energy, the fossil fuel remains crucial in supplying baseload electricity and powering critical industries, says mining investment company Menar MD Vuslat Bayoglu.

To draw attention to the role of coal in the energy transition and in helping developing nations power their economies, Menar will participate in this year’s London Indaba – to be held at the Intercontinental London Park Lane hotel, in London, in the UK, from June 26 to 27.

The company will engage in a panel discussion about whether coal is still a viable commodity amid current global trends and the backlash against fossil fuels.

He suggests that coal will remain a relevant commodity for many nations, accounting for an estimated 39% of baseload electricity generation for emerging markets, such as those in South-East Asia, by 2040.

In the same vein, the ‘World Bank Energy Progress Report’ for 2022 estimates that 733-million people globally are without electricity, while 80% of people residing in Africa face energy constraints.

Bayoglu describes these statistics as “especially worrying for Africa”, reflecting the need to address a high level of energy poverty on the continent – an issue requiring an accessible, reliable and affordable energy source, such as coal.

“The energy transition cannot be ‘just’ if it further delays access to basic electricity and economic development for the people who need it the most. We need a balanced approach whereby renewable-energy supplements coal instead of a drastic shift that may cause more harm than good.”

Bayoglu adds that the recommissioning of coal mines is, therefore, feasible in the longer term because new technology that can reduce emissions exists, consequently resulting in the production of coal with less environmental impact.

Implementing clean coal technologies can improve the quality of the large quantities of discard through beneficiation and investing in, for example, gasification and combustion technologies that can assist mines to achieve better such balances.

“Ultimately, we must strike a balance between meeting our climate goals and enhancing energy security. We also envision a future whereby clean technologies are more advanced, setting the stage for better protection of the environment.”

Eager Interest

As a private investment company in Africa, Bayoglu expresses Menar’s interest in the trajectory of the coal industry and how it can add value to economies.

“This theme speaks to the central role mining will play in the development of African economies, especially because our continent is well endowed with mineral wealth. There is still more exploration and mining to be done on the continent; as a company, we are interested in how these undertakings can create long-term benefits for citizens.”

Meanwhile, Menar aims to maintain stability and efficiency at its existing operations, many of which are coal mines in South Africa, while increasing its involvement in the industry through diversifying its portfolio and building stronger business partnerships.

The company aims to embark on more sustainability initiatives through job creation, supporting community development and becoming more productive.

Part of this journey, Bayoglu says, entails implementing advanced technology to make mines safer and more efficient.

“We aim to set the benchmark for the digitalisation of mines in Africa by building on this significant step going forward,” he concludes.

Edited by Donna Slater
Features Deputy Editor and Chief Photographer

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