The Minerals Council South Africa is developing a Net Zero 2050 Action Plan and pathway towards achieving the goal of net zero greenhouse-gas (GHG) emissions.
The action plan for mining will include the central pillars of increasing the share of investment in renewable energy sources; research, development and innovation into new technologies; the ongoing adoption of Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) technologies and modern mining methods; critical skills development; engaging the supplier base for collaborative programmes on GHG reductions; and a “realistic people-centered just energy transition”.
The Minerals Council has already hosted a detailed workshop on the opportunities of a green hydrogen economy and consideration is being given to establishing a Green Hydrogen Leadership Forum to progress this agenda.
In a statement on October 7, the Minerals Council recognised South Africa’s dependency on a reliable energy supply chain that is crucial for development and inclusive growth, as well as the significant employment and economic value created in the coal value chain.
“The transition must support greater investment in renewable energy over time without compromising our energy security,” the council said.
Minerals Council members have, therefore, already targeted an investment in about 1.6 GW of renewables capacity over the next three years, while power utility Eskom is planning to retire about 11 GW of old-generation coal-fired power station capacity over the next decade.
Considering that the energy mix will require much greater investment in renewables, the Minerals Council emphasised that “clear, jointly developed plans involving government, industry and trade unions” is required to manage the transition in a just and people-centered manner.
The Minerals Council also recognised the coal mining sector’s significant contribution to the industrialisation and development of South Africa.
“While the share of coal will decline over time, it will remain a significant provider of baseload electricity, employment, exports and contributor to the economy over future decades,” the council said.
The Minerals Council is, therefore, working closely with its coal members who are fully supportive of a people-centred and pragmatic just energy transition.
The council’s announcement follows on the International Council on Mining and Metals' open letter released earlier this week, expressing members’ commitment to Net Zero Scope 1 and 2 GHG emissions by 2050 or sooner, in line with the ambition of the Paris Agreement.