Load shedding at the end of 2019 hit the mining sector hard. Losing operation days hurt the industry, now mining companies have approached the government to approve the building of solar-panels to supplement their energy supply.
At the time, the mining industry asked Minister of Mineral Resources, Gwede Mantashe, if they could build 800MW of solar-generated power capacity. This would allow them to continue working when load shedding hits and could take some strain off the national grid.
Now, according to Bloomberg, the companies plan to build 609 megawatts of electricity generating capacity. The Minerals Council said that these would mostly be photovoltaic solar panels.
Currently, the Council said Sibanye Gold Ltd. has environmental and ministerial approval for the first 50-megawatt module of its planned plant but needs permission for at least another 150 megawatts to make the project economically viable.
According to BizNews, Anglo-American has also been in discussion with the government about a self-generating power scheme.
“We are exploring opportunities, there’s an opportunity we’re looking at in the platinum businesses in Limpopo around solar energy, so it will be clean energy and renewable energy, and it also fits in with our global strategy of being in a position where we eventually get to net-zero carbon emissions,” she said.
At the moment, the South African government has not approved mines to build significant building projects, still requiring mines to buy their electricity solely from Eskom.