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africa|coal|copper|engineering|engineering-news|mining|project

On-The-Air (15/12/2023)

Martin Creamer discusses green ammonia, copper and the mining sector.

15th December 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 new R105-billion green ammonia project is going to be a big boost for the Eastern Cape.

Creamer: This is going to be a massive uplift for the Eastern Cape and coming in with this gigascale green hydrogen, green ammonia project is Hive Hydrogen South Africa. We have got to tip our hats to Thulani Ghabashe. As you will likely remember, Thulani Ghabashe is the former CEO of Eskom and the former chairperson of Standard Bank, who went into renewable energy after leaving Eskom. So, he has got a big renewable energy business. Now he's moving into green hydrogen and green ammonia, and the entry of green ammonia into the world is going to be unstoppable because it's a clean energy and the world cannot live without clean fuels because not only do unclean fuels cause climate change, but they also affect the health of the people of this planet. So, Thulani Ghabashe moving into the Coega area of Gqeberha, the former Port Elizabeth, in the Eastern Cape, and he's leading the development of this big project. Moreover, this gigascale project at a capital investment of a whopping R105-billion is only the first phase of a multi-phase project. Hive Hydrogen South Africa says 50 similar sized projects could be built and the world would still not have enough green ammonia, a clean fuel that can replace all unclean fuels that worsen climate change and affect human health. Hive Hydrogen South Africa has linked up with the huge Itochu Corporation, one of the biggest Japanese companies, and they’re looking to produce a million tons a year of low-cost green ammonia for export from the port of Coega, near Gqeberha, in South Africa’s Eastern Cape, to the Far East and Europe.

Kamwendo: A Johannesburg-listed mining company is recovering valuable copper from old mine dumps in Zambia.

Creamer: And again, the South African company doing this is chaired by Mathews Phosa, the former Premier of South Africa’s Mpumalanga province. The company Mathews Phosa chairs has gone full tilt into Zambia, Southern Africa’s copper-rich state, with Jubilee Metals, a company is listed on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange's AltX. Jubilee has gone in to recover copper off old mine dumps, some of them 100 years old. For many decades, mined copper waste material has been accumulating on-surface on dumps, many of them bearing copper of attractive grade. Jubilee is doing copper recovery work at Mufulira and roan, and is now going into one of the biggest rock dumps in partnership with a big company from the UAE, the United Arab Emirates. They are going to recover a lot of copper, which our electrifying world needs.

Kamwendo: South Africans need to work together to grow the local mining sector, which has been shrinking since 1994.

Creamer: When South Africa's mining industry performs well, all South Africans benefit. But mining, by its very nature, has a finite horizon, which is why everything that is taken out of the ground must be replaced by as much newly discovered new material as possible to ensure an ongoing future. Since the dawning of South Africa's democracy in 1994, south Africa’s mining has been shrinking. Initially, this was by design rather than accident, but now is the time for South Africans to work together on an agenda that is positive, productive, ambitious and actionable, as even the Australians are pleading happens Down Under, by the way. The kick-off of the resurgence of South Africa’s mining industry must be about acknowledging the reality of the fast diminishing present situation, recognising the urgency of the task ahead, and determining a plan of action for the future. There's such a huge  opportunity to build back better at the moment. The South African mining industry can go into the mining of critical metals. With the right will, we can get exploration going with a click of a finger. Exploration drilling can begin tomorrow and immediately boost the economy and begin providing a new mining horizon in a South Africa that is very well endowed with metals and minerals. We need a broader horizon for mining because the horizon is diminishing.

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

Edited by Creamer Media Reporter

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