The coal mining company, Exxaro, plans to pledge more investments at the upcoming SA Investment Conference in Johannesburg.
In 2018, Exxaro pledged R20-billion towards the development of its thermal coal mining operations and renewable energy investment, in Limpopo, Mpumalanga, and the Eastern Cape.
The company says coal supply disruptions as a result of the Ukraine-Russia conflict have also opened up more market opportunities for them.
Recently, there has been a lot of debate on the future of coal. And with the country’s goal to reach zero-net emissions by 2050, many have come out to say that the coal mining industry has no future in South Africa. But, Exxaro’s Executive Head of Projects and Technology, Johan Meyer, says this cannot be further from the truth.
“The challenge is to have energy transition not focusing on coal alone you need to have a mix to make South Africa take that forward, there is no technology at this point in time that can make it clean, it can be cleaner but not clean, because of the fundamental reason of CO2 emissions that are produced from the coal resource that we have so the answer lies in the efforts we need to spend is rather to ensure that broader our energy mix in the country.”
In 2018, the coal mining company pledged R20 billion in investment that saw over 48 000 people benefiting from eight of its nine mega projects and creating over 6 000 jobs.
With that investment, the company’s executive head of stakeholder affairs, Mzila Mthenjane, says it saw an increase in its production volumes and exports.
“We’ve just recently come to an end of that investment in terms of those projects that have been completed and as a result of that investment we’ve seen our production volumes increase both in terms of continuing operations that are coming to the end of their lives but the most significant increase was in our exports wherein 2020 we were able to export just over 20 million tons.”
With the 4th investment conference approaching, Mtenjane says it will be making another pledge. But, this time it will be to invest in renewable energy.
“Going forward we have indicated that in terms of our response to climate change we will not be investing further in coal but we are looking at investing in further in terms of energy so we have spoken and shared with the markets that we are looking at the solar park right here in Waterberg of about 70 megawatts of renewable energy generation and that will increase over time and the business itself in terms of the renewable energy business poses for growth going to the future.”
Exxaro says it is unfortunate that the mining industry has to speak of benefits from the war between Russia and Ukraine. The company says it has since seen a benefit from high coal prices. And, it is doing what it can to capture what it can with the volumes that it exports.
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