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 implementation of new technology is earning a fortune for the South African mining companies that are brave enough to implement it.
Creamer: Yes and one of them that has been very brave for the last six years is Anglo American. They introduced the FutureSmart and the P101 programmes. That has netted them R70-billion in six years. It tells you that if you start improving mining you not only keep it more profitable and you do a good job for your workers and community, but you also make a lot of money. They are using less water and electricity and they are changing the way they deal with the processing of the mining. They are also looking to lowering their carbon footprint to be a good citizen. All the things that are actually meaning full about making the world a better place also makes you a lot of money. They have just brought in this R70-billion profit over six years from doing the right thing with technology.
Kamwendo: The Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE) this week praised South Africa’s mining companies to the rooftops for their outstanding performance in 2019.
Creamer: The new CEO at JSE, Dr Leila Fourie was saying how well the mining industry contributed to the success of the stock exchange in 2019. She was there to list a company again, which is Sibanye-Stillwater. It was known as Sibanye Gold seven years ago, now Sibanye-Stillwater, because it has changed its whole processing tactics and gone into platinum as well. She is saying they increased their share price by 260%. So, if you had invested R1 in January, you would have got R260 at the end of the year. That is an amazing achievement. She is saying that the value of mining companies now on the stock exchange is more than a trillion rand. So, the confidence that people have in that stock exchange in South Africa is still enormous. They are prepared to invest, because they see it as one of the best stock exchanges of the world that can keep your money safe.
Kamwendo: South Africa’s clean energy ducks are all in a row as hydrogen fuel cells begin to force their way into the electricity space.
Creamer: The world’s clean green journey is on a competitive path. For new project is renewable energy is beating fossil fuels hands down. It is beating nuclear alternatives hand down, not only on price, but also for the common good. The sun and wind brings with it potential for production of green hydrogen. Then you get the green hydrogen that can be stored for any amount of time and then it can be used in the same way as oil has been used. We see that emerging daily in Europe, Japan and even South Africa. We have got Anglo American again, progressing with its hydrogen haul truck project in Limpopo Province. This will be the biggest cleanest haul truck in the history of the world. They believe that they will get it moving by mid-year and it will be fully commissioned by the end of the year. That will be clean and green. They are setting out to cut out all the greenhouse gas emissions and at the same time it is wonderful, because it is platinum rich. So, it is going to use our platinum to make the world a better place. We already see that the Anglo American Platinum has cut its greenhouse gasses by 30%. The whole approach of many of the companies is not only to say we are going to do better scope 1, scope 2, scope 3 as you have to do in terms of the Paris agreement. They are actually bringing in new technologies that ensure that you do things in a way that is going to create a better environment. We see that the three letters ‘ESG’ are just going across the mining industry at the moment. That is environmental socioeconomic and governance. So, you make sure that you do best for the environment and community and make sure you don’t corrupt anything. We saw some wonderful efforts on the stock exchange this week. We saw Sibanye-Stillwater bring in their mineworker choir, which was a fantastic to listen to. They had a great message. These people were singing about mining and mine safety. They were singing about mines sustainability. So, they have got the message. Even though many of them work 3km below the ground, the company has achieved a 10-million fatality free shifts. This is unheard of in the history of the world. Normally, deep-level mines are deep, dark and dangerous. What they are trying to make sure is that it might be deep and dark, but they want them to be dangerous any longer and they are succeeding.
Kamwendo: Thanks very much. Martin Creamer is publishing editor of Engineering News and Mining Weekly