Fully committed to undertakings on climate – Minerals Minister

3rd October 2019 By: Martin Creamer - Creamer Media Editor

Fully committed to undertakings on climate – Minerals Minister

Gwede Mantashe
Photo by: Creamer Media's Dylan Slater

JOHANNESBURG (miningweekly.com) – Mineral Resources and Energy Minister Gwede Mantashe, who is expected to submit the Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) next week, told the Joburg Indaba on Thursday that he hoped to gazette the IRP to give South Africans another chance to comment on the document.

With pressure building up globally for climate action, Mantashe said that coal producers would be required to invest in clean coal technology, singled out the Koeberg nuclear power station as South Africa’s most cost-effective electricity supplier, spoke of gas discoveries being poised to bring gas into the picture in a game-changing manner and said provision had been made for renewables. (Also watch attached Creamer Media video.)

The Minister’s references to renewables follow the recent Climate Action Summit at the United Nations, where the climate-positive nature of renewable energy was recognised as having major economic upliftment potential in addition to its important role of mitigating climate change.

They also came against the background of global resistance building up to the importation of products from countries that doggedly adhere to climate-negative practices.

Mantashe told the Joburg Indaba conference: “We’ve made provision for coal, but coal must invest in clean coal technologies.

“In the IRP that we will be submitting to Cabinet, we have made provision for coal with a rider that coal must invest in clean coal technologies.

“We’ve made provision for nuclear and have said to them that currently Koeberg nuclear power station is the most reliable, efficient and cost-effective supplier of electricity in South Africa.

“We’ve made provision for gas. We’ve said that we’re making discoveries of gas and we’re going to be a player in gas and gas is going to be a game-changer in South Africa.

“We’ve made provision for renewables. We've said it is a technology that must compete and grow.

“But we should disabuse those who project renewables as the enemy of every other technology except themselves.

“We’ve been accused of being coal fundamentalists, but we’re not coal fundamentalists, we are fundamentalist about energy security of supply to South Africa.

“We’re also committed fully to meeting our commitments on climate-change levels. That’s why we say coal clean coal technologies are the way to go. If you don’t do it, you’re going to be sterilised prematurely. So, there’s nothing fundamentalist about that. It’s about reality.

“What is the point of getting praises when we are starving? We must build our economy, make it perform and then comply systematically and that’s why we use the term called ‘just transition’.

“Just transition must be a systematic moving away from polluting the environment and begin to move to clean energy. It must be systematic and it must not be a movement from one extreme to the other extreme,” the Minister said.