South Africa is taking steps to add backup power

Mineral Resources and Energy Minister Gwede Mantashe announced eight projects last week that would add 2,000 MW of emergency power and bring a total private sector investment of R45 billion to the South African economy.

Unprecedented level six power outages had hampered the mining sector in December 2019, prompting the Minerals Council South Africa to urge action to deal with the country’s risk and economic crisis.

“We all look forward to the day the power comes on and it stays on,” Ramaphosa said this week, admitting that power shortages have been a problem for more than a decade.

He said the electricity will be generated from a number of sources, including solar, wind, liquefied natural gas and battery storage, and should provide electricity to the nation by August next year.

He also said that work was underway to increase the license threshold for connecting self-generated electricity to the grid.

South Africa-based miner Gold Fields last month welcomed the long-awaited regulatory approval for a 40 MW solar power plant for its South Deep mine.

It would have the potential to cover about 20% of South Deep’s average electricity usage.

CEO Nick Holland said it would “increase the reliability and affordability of South Deep’s power supply and ultimately improve the mine’s long-term sustainability”.

The company already has renewable energy facilities at the Agnew and Granny Smith mines in Western Australia.

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