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On-The-Air (03/03/2023)


3rd March 2023

By: Martin Creamer

Creamer Media Editor


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Every Friday, SAfm’s radio anchor Sakina Kamwendo speaks to Martin Creamer, publishing editor of Engineering News & Mining Weekly. Reported here is this Friday’s At the Coalface transcript:

Kamwendo: South Africa’s biggest gold mining company will be saving R425-million a year by generating its own green electricity.

Creamer: Now that is Harmony Gold that presented its operational and financial results this week. Harmony will be producing 30 megawatts by June, that will be in the Free State. So that is 30 megawatts of clean, green electricity by June, and then another 137 megawatts, by June next year.

So, self-generation of electricity is becoming a no brainer for these companies, because they come in so much cheaper. They are talking about saving enormous amounts, and this is just the start. They are also going into phase three, which will mean that savings will be so huge. How the electricity price got so badly out of hand from Eskom is just unbelievable. It went up 500% in ten years, which has opened the way for people to do their own energy generation in a very business-like manner.

At the same time, there is an important aspect to this, because as the mining companies cut their costs, they extend the lives of their mines and this is so important, because South Africa has so little exploration at the moment because the country does not have a working cadastre. We are taking ounces of gold out of the ground, but we not putting them back through exploration, So the mines will eventually close, but the self-generation of much cheaper electricity will help to extend in lives of mines because the cost levels will fall.

Kamwendo: Big platinum mining company Implats will be spending more than R4-billion on having clean electricity generated for its mines.

Creamer: So, self-generation of clean electricity is everywhere. Implats is allocating R4,3 billion to receive clean, green electricity. They have had an absolutely massive response to the request for information. They put out a request for information, referred to as an RFI, to people who can supply energy and the response has been overwhelming.

The number of gigawatts that have come in are 7.8 gigawatts from 49 different organisations – 7 800 megawatts is as big or bigger than any of the power stations we have got. They put out the RFI in November. By January they had 7.8 gigawatts. It is 2.4 gigawatts of wind energy, 4.5 gigawatts of sun energy. It is spread throughout the provinces. Kwa-Zulu Natal is the only province they hasn’t responded, so that geographic diversity is also very good for Implats.

Kamwendo: The world is warming to far higher temperatures than has been globally agreed, South Africa’s Anglo American has warned.

Creamer: That is very good for Anglo American and the corporates to actually emphasise this point: that the world is not doing its job on climate change. The world is still warming at a rate that will meet Paris agreement of 1.5 degrees centigrade. In fact, we heating up now it is going to be 2.7 degrees centigrade, which will radically change our world into different agricultural locations, different insect spreads and harsh weather disruptions. People are not taking climate change seriously.

It is great that corporations like Anglo American are employing people to do independent, credible research and this research is credibly indicating that the world has to do much better, and must take the threat of climate change far more seriously. Mining companies like Anglo that mine in many parts of the world are seeing the global disruption that climate change is bringing. The Anglo business is being impacted by drought in South America and flooded mines in Limpopo.

They are having to stop water  flow down mine declines flooding their mines. And when the mines are flooded, they can’t produce mined goods, and if they don't produce, economies dependent on mining, like the South African economy, are hit very hard.

Kamwendo: Thanks very much. Martin Creamer is publishing editor of Engineering News and Mining Weekly.

Edited by Creamer Media Reporter




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