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: The gazetting of Gauteng’s all-important Special Economic Zone for Platinum Fuel Cell Development is expected in May.
Creamer: This is fantastic news. We have been waiting for it for a long time and things have been moving in the background with the Department of Trade and Industry and the Gauteng Provincial Government.
Now, it has been said that before the end of May we will see that this area is gazetted. It’s 16 hectares of ground, it has been donated by Impala Platinum in Springs. Working together there will be people who will develop fuel cells. First there will be international involvement where they will show us how to make these fuel cells and thereafter there will be South Africans will get involved hoping to put them in many places in South Africa that they could be used at the moment both to generate electricity from a standing point of view like Eskom does and also to do it for mobility. Heading that is Sifiso Sibiya and he is excited about the prospects. He is working with all the stakeholders including Mintek to make sure that this does well.
Kamwendo: Three more mining companies this week disclosed plans to generate solar power to limit dependence on expensive Eskom electricity.
Creamer: Just about every mining company you speak to these days has renewable energy in its sights. The companies that reported this week included Orion Minerals in the Northern Cape. There is so much sun, but also wind, it turns out. They are going to use both. Also, you have got the community-owned mining company Royal Bafokeng Platinum.
They have declared that they are also studying solar energy now. There is Assore, also in the Northern Cape, looking at solar power. We see that these are following the big companies like Anglo American Platinum. They announced earlier that they are wanting to build 100 MW solar power plant to power their Mogalakwena mine in Limpopo. What they are objecting it too is that Eskom is trying to restrict them to 10 MW. I think that they have to overcome that.
Eskom doesn’t like to see this much competition coming on, so they are trying to slow them down a bit. I am sure they will win that fight. Also, Harmony are looking at a 30 MW plant for their gold mines in the Free State. So, activity all round, because of this Eskom news which is just worsening the situation, because it is not really a 9,41% increase as got all the headlines. The reality is that it is 13,82% if you work out the 4,4% hike that was sanctioned last year.
Kamwendo: Today being International Woman’s Day makes it very appropriate to reiterate that diamond giant De Beers has appointed Mpumi Zikalala to head its mining operations in South Africa and Canada.
Creamer: That is amazing. I am looking at a smiling picture of Mpumi Zikalala now, but there is also another Mpumi who has got a big appointment today, that is Mpumi Modisa.
She has been appointed the Chief Executive Officer-Designate of the Bidvest company. So, we can see that steps are being taken along the lines of gender equity by the very big companies. The one involving Mpumi Zikalala is a very interesting one, because she will run both South Africa and Canada. There is an international dimension to this and it is a bringing together of the South African and the Canadian diamond companies into one operation.
She will be replacing the two people who did it. That is Phillip Barton and Kim Truter. Phillip is, of course, from South Africa and Kim Truter is in Canada. She will be taking over that role, which is a very big role one can say, because it is making her managing director of the operations in two countries.
Kamwendo: Thanks very much. Martin Creamer is publishing editor of Engineering News and Mining Weekly.