Gwede Mantashe drops electricity bombshell at mining indaba
'We must have a fail-safe option for delivering energy'
The theme of the 26th Investing in African Mining Indaba is “optimising growth and investment in the digitised mining economy”, but on Monday, as the conference started, the words on everyone’s lips were load-shedding.
As delegates from far and wide made their way into the venue, a welcome pack included a nifty self-charging torch, courtesy of Anglo American, serving as a not-so-subtle reminder that in SA, the land of power cuts, such a device will come in handy.
That’s especially true now that load-shedding has resumed in earnest and is likely to continue, as was communicated by new Eskom CEO André de Ruyter at his first state of the system briefing on Friday.
Mineral resources and energy minister Gwede Mantashe gave the opening address at the indaba, and was unusually quick to address the question on everybody’s mind: how can you begin to talk about optimising growth and investment in SA when you can’t provide the mining industry with a stable supply of power?
Sporting a black, green and gold tie, Mantashe acknowledged power cuts were affecting mining production and, in turn, economic growth.
The mining minster said government is looking at setting up a new electricity generation business outside Eskom, which could potentially use gas, Business Day reported.
He also announced at the Investing in African Mining Indaba in Cape Town on Monday that there were no restrictions on companies producing power for internal use.
He said the proposal around the new electricity company, which could be state owned or a public-private partnership, had been accepted in principle by the government and it now needed a regulatory framework.