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: At last, the world’s mining giants are shining a bright new spotlight on green hydrogen.
Creamer: You know, three years ago the world’s CEO’s got together of the bigger companies, industrial and transport companies, and they set up the Hydrogen Council. In no time there were 81 members around the world. People just flocked to this. Now, it has become important and more targeted, so the mining companies are building their own consortium.
They are going to show how they can go green in their mining environment. It is all coming very fast amidst this coronavirus, because people are realising that you have got to be vigilant about climate change. You can’t just leave it like we left our healthcare situation. The biggest companies in the world BHP, Anglo American, Fortescue and consulting engineering companies like Hatch are now working on bringing green hydrogen solutions into mining, which means mining vehicles will be transported by a clean energy source.
Kamwendo: Eskom must sign energy contracts that ensure a smart transition from coal to renewables.
Creamer: Yes, they are saying that Eskom should look at energy rather than coal. There are a lot of coal mining companies now, particularly more astute ones, that are mining coal, but also starting to generate wind and sun energy. Instead of saying that they have got to supply coal over a 30-year period, they say that they have to supply energy over a 30-year period.
What will happen is that as they deplete their coal mines they can then feed renewable energy into the national electricity grid and we will be getting the energy. That is all we want really. We want electricity and whether they burn coal or not is an issue around climate change. So, it should be done seamlessly so that contractors can move from coal mining in to renewable energy and still have big contracts honoured.
Kamwendo: God help us if we don’t take climate change very seriously. That’s the warning from Minerals Council South Africa president Mxolisi Mgojo.
Creamer: Mxolisi Mgojo, people are never going to forget it, it was a packed Exxaro Resources financial results presentation and he said that if we don’t take climate change very seriously, God help us. I think that is the sort of comment we need, particularly in this coronavirus environment where you see that if you don’t do things, when you allow time to lapse, we run into serious trouble.
Kamwendo: Thanks very much. Martin Creamer is publishing editor of Engineering News and Mining Weekly.