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:
Sakina Kamwendo: Mining company Exxaro is to provide 93 MW of clean, green electricity for its three coal mines.
Martin Creamer: Exxaro is led excellently by Mxolisi Mgojo. This is one of the best business leaders in the world because he saw the future. He is a coal miner but he saw that coal mining was going to be cold-shouldered by the world because of climate change. So, in 2009 he moved into renewable energies and now he’s able to decarbonise his own coal mines with his own renewable energy. That sounds ironic, but he will do so by generating sun energy, 93 MW for his three biggest coal mines, 70 MW for the Grootegeluk mine and the rest for the Matla mine and the Belfast mine. I don’t think anyone in the world has seen the future like Mxolisi Mgojo with Exxaro doing brilliantly. Although they are coal miners, they are decarbonising themselves and will be decarbonise other mines as well as part of a new business diversification that will be global.
Sakina Kamwendo: Gauteng’s big South Deep gold mine will next year begin to trial battery electric mining vehicles.
Martin Creamer: The mining industry is taking climate change very seriously and this big gold mine in Gauteng, South Deep, a few weeks back announced that it’s going to generate its own 40 MW of sun energy. So, it will have its own sun energy during the day and it has a whole lot of activities underground and it wants to convert those to battery electric so that they don’t have the diesel fumes underground. From late next year, the Gold Fields mine will have a product from Sandvik that will be a battery electric vehicle that will be put through its trials underground at South Deep in Gauteng in the hope of converting the total fleet to a green energy fleet.
Sakina Kamwendo: South Africa’s platinum mines have cleverly shielded themselves from price volatility by entering into long-term supply contracts.
Martin Creamer: With climate change coming up, our platinum group metals have been really sought after, and we saw the prices just go right through the roof recently beyond everyone’s belief, and the platinum group mines made a fortune. But what has happened is that they’re being let down at the automotive industry level because the automotive industry uses a lot of platinum group metals but they cannot produce cars at the level expected now because they cannot get enough electronic chips. They can’t get enough computer chips from the computer chip business and this is holding up the production of vehicles right across the world. And in holding up those vehicles across the world, they’ve had to slow down on the use of our platinum group metals, which means that the price has fallen again. But fortunately, the wisdom of our platinum group metals companies is that set up long-term price arrangements with the original equipment manufacturers of the automotive industry, which means we won’t be as badly hit as we could have been.
Sakina Kamwendo: Thanks very much. Very interesting as always. Martin Creamer is publishing editor of Engineering News & Mining Weekly, and he’ll be back with another edition of At the Coalface, same time next Friday.