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 decision of the Energy Minister Jeff Radebe to free up electricity generation is just what the South African economy needs at the moment.
Creamer: Yes, I think the Minister of Energy needs a good pat on the back because at the moment we really need to do everything we can to generate electricity.
What he has done is he has opened up so that there can be small-scale embedded generation at this stage. He has asked Nersa to look at those applications and allow them to come through.
We know that thousands of farmers want to actually generate their own electricity. Every mining company I speak to today wants to generate their own electricity, because they say they can do it cheaper and they use the sun and the wind and that is great for our climate change issues.
Kamwendo: Zimbabwe has found the electricity to open a brand new platinum smelter, which was officially launched yesterday.
Creamer: I can tell you in South Africa if they ask the government ‘can we open a smelter,’ the answer would be no, because there is no electricity. Yet, Zimbabwe yesterday officially launched a brand new platinum smelter at the Unki Mine.
It is done in conjunction with South Africa’s Anglo American Platinum. The investment has been $62-million and they are already functioning in that particular operation. So, it is a marvellous beneficiation step by our neighbours in the field of platinum, which is also very much our metal.
Kamwendo: A top economist this week called on all South Africans to act together to grow our economy inclusively so that it generates a maximum number of new jobs.
Creamer: Eunomix is Claude Baissac who has just completed an exhaustive study, which showed that in the last 12 years South Africa preformed dismally in the economic social and governance issues.
In fact, it was the worst performance by any country not at war. He is saying now that he agrees with President Cyril Ramaphosa that the South Africans need to act together. He emphasised ‘act together’ to realise economic opportunities. There are so many opportunities popping up now after the election and if we can just get some momentum going, we can preserve jobs.
As we just see from this announcement today that the Competition Appeal Court judgement has allowed Lonmin and Sibanye to merger, which again protects 29 812 jobs. These jobs would have been lost, because of the uncertainty and the financial lack.
Kamwendo: Thanks very much. Martin Creamer is publishing editor of Engineering News and Mining Weekly.