Mineral Resources and Energy Minister Gwede Mantashe says government is working on a plan that will resolve load shedding in the next 12 months.
He says areas that will be focused on include maintenance of existing power stations, purchasing electricity from neighbouring countries and improving the skills capacity at Eskom.
Mantashe was delivering the opening address at the Investing in African Mining Indaba, currently under way at the Cape Town International Convention Centre.
He says resolving load shedding is critical for economic growth.
“At the center of our current energy challenges is the decline in the Energy Availability Factor (EAF) from an estimated 75% to 49%. Therefore, the most feasible and logical option to exercise to resolve load shedding is by arresting the decline in the EAF,” Mantashe adds.
Government says the country’s energy crisis will be at the center of the conversations at the Mining Indaba.
The indaba is a gathering of over 6 500 delegates in the mining community.
Deputy-Director General for the Department of Minerals and Energy, Ntokozo Ngcwabe says as the country along with the rest of the world moves to just-transition, coal will not be deserted.
She says the country’s electricity supply is still highly dependent on coal fired power stations and therefore there will be talks with investors as to how to keep coal while heading to net-zero emission.
Ngcwabe says, “Firstly, the government is committed to just-transition. However, what we are saying is that the reality of the country is that our electricity is highly generated from coal-fired power stations. So, us transitioning from that high carbon economy to low carbon economy isn’t going to happen overnight. Coal is still going to be with us for quite (some time), while we move to our just-transition journey to a lower carbon economy and while we move to decommissioning some of the coal-fired power plants.”
VIDEO: Minister Gwede Mantashe’s question and answer session with the media at Mining Indaba:
Additional reporting by Nothando Magudulela .