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: South Africa must seize its opportunity to produce green hydrogen and help the world to fight climate change at the same time.
Creamer: The world over, hydrogen is coming into the forefront. We see that there is going to be a hydrogen Olympics. The Olympics Games this year, 2020, is being called the hydrogen Olympics. The flame will be fuelled by hydrogen. There is a hydrogen town going up in Japan. Japan has let it be known that it is going to want a lot of hydrogen and we can give it to them.
We have got superior sun and wind and we have got the capacity to produce it and probably be able to do it out of Coega Port and get it to them. But, we are falling behind. The Australians are already getting ahead of us and Patagonia are getting ahead of us. We just seem to be falling behind. Yet, this will be a fantastic revenue stream for our foreign exchange, but also internally we could benefit from getting this tradable and transferrable product that is clean, provided that you produce it from the sun and wind.
Kamwendo: Analysts warned in Johannesburg this week that climate change will hit Africa much harder than other continents.
Creamer: It is just a reality. Deloitte Africa Outlook 2020 had a panel of speakers in Johannesburg this week and they highlighted the fact that Africa is going to be hit much harder than any other continent when it comes to climate change. Already the temperature rise of the continent is one-and-a-half times the rate of global temperatures. Africa has got low adaptive capacity.
We have seen it with the floods in Mozambique. What can you expect if you don’t look after climate change, you have got floods and droughts. Americans can move their people out of problems, we see it when there is a tornado they can get people out of harm’s way. Africa just doesn’t have that and we are also under insured, not only us, but the whole world. We saw with the 820 catastrophes of 2019, only a third of them got insurance.
Kamwendo: 6000 people will descend on Cape Town next week for the 26th Mining Indaba, where governments from across Africa will be represented.
Creamer: When it comes to mining, everybody and his dog is going to be in Cape Town next week. Of course, our Minister Gwede Mantashe will open it. But, I have found in the past and we have been there for most of the 26 times, is that the world then turns its back on South Africa, unless we get policy clarity.
We still are regarded by investors world over for not having policy clarity and I do hope that it will change this year when the Minister of Resources and Energy Gwede Mantashe speaks and opens this big 26th Mining Indaba in Cape Town next week.
Kamwendo: Thanks very much. Martin Creamer is publishing editor of Engineering News and Mining Weekly.