According to JUWI, a renewables company, South African miners are intensifying their endeavors to embrace additional solar and wind power generation. This strategic shift is driven by their objectives to reduce expenses, decrease emissions, and tackle the prevailing electricity crisis that has adversely impacted their productivity as well as the broader economy.
Extensive power cuts have become increasingly prevalent due to the frequent breakdowns experienced by Eskom, the state-owned utility, primarily stemming from the deteriorating condition of their coal-fired plants.
Mines and their processing facilities, responsible for up to 30% of the country’s total power consumption, are consistently being requested to curtail their energy usage. This practice has significant implications for their mineral output and operational capabilities.
As the leading global producer of platinum group metals (PGMs), South Africa holds a prominent position in the industry. However, Sibanye Stillwater (SSWJ.J) has projected a potential decline of up to 20% in South Africa’s PGM output this year. This reduction in production is partly attributable to the constraints faced by the world’s second-largest producer, Russia, following its invasion of Ukraine.
According to the Minerals Council of South Africa, mining companies in the country are actively pursuing the development of a combined 6,500 megawatts of renewable power. By 2025, it is anticipated that these efforts will result in the generation of 2,294 megawatts of sustainable energy. Furthermore, there are additional plans for further expansion, with more renewable power expected to come online by 2030.
In late May, Sibanye finalized a power purchase agreement with an 89 MW wind project, marking a significant step towards its goal of achieving 550 MW of renewable power by 2040. This agreement signifies Sibanye’s commitment to harnessing wind energy as part of its renewable power portfolio.