Eskom’s proposed tariff hikes risk making mining unsustainable — minerals council

Granting Eskom the type of tariff hikes it is requesting from the National Energy Regulator over the next few years risks making mining in the country unsustainable, especially deep underground mining, according to the chief executive of the Minerals Council of South Africa, Roger Baxter.

The debt-laden power utility is asking for a 15% annual tariff hike for three years.

Baxter was speaking at the said at the start of the four-day Mining Indaba 2019 in Cape Town on Monday.

Illegal mining is another growing problem that Baxter highlighted. This includes illegal miners accessing existing mines, as well as the illegal mining of mine dumps, he said. The council is also liaising with government in this regard, he said.

Baxter said the council would also like to see more exploration in the local industry, noting that in 2017, South Africa accounted for only 1% of global exploration. The council would like to see this increase to about 5%.


“We believe the government is now recognising that exploration is mainly done by the venture capital side and that ownership requirement, especially on the greenfield side, had to be removed,” said Baxter.

“We do not always agree with government on issues, but it is about getting together and sometimes having to make compromises, which are not always a bad thing. We have already come a long way.”

‘New era of hope’

“The government is committed to solve a myriad of issues in the South African economy. A 1% growth in the economy is just not enough. We are having intense and frank engagement with government to see how we can get each of the mining sectors back on track again,” he said.

Topics of engagement include regulatory uncertainty and rail constraints.

Asked whether he expects a “wait and see” attitude from investors in the mining industry until after the national election, Baxter said that while elections come and go, the council’s approach is to continuously try to create an environment conducive for mining.

“We are not yet where we want to be, but we are pointing in the right direction and are in a better position now,” he said.

The council’s priorities include a focus on the improvement of safety and health in the industry, building better relationships with government and ensuring improved use of technology and modernisation.

“We must get ongoing regulatory improvement to increase our investment attractiveness. There are great opportunities if the industry and government work together,” Baxter concluded. — Fin24

Subscribe to the M&G

These are unprecedented times, and the role of media to tell and record the story of South Africa as it develops is more important than ever.

The Mail & Guardian is a proud news publisher with roots stretching back 35 years, and we’ve survived right from day one thanks to the support of readers who value fiercely independent journalism that is beholden to no-one. To help us continue for another 35 future years with the same proud values, please consider taking out a subscription.

Carin Smith
Carin Smith
A business journalist at Fin24.com.

Related stories

Gas: South Africa’s next ‘battleground’

As government pushes for a huge increase in electricity generation from gas, serious questions are being raised about the logic behind the move

Khaya Sithole: What’s the state’s role in business?

State participation is valid when the market can’t deliver what’s needed, such as roads and rail networks and telecommunications. But banks and airlines are private enterprise concerns

Covid-19 puts Eskom’s integrated resource plan at risk

The economic effects of the pandemic could hamper the government’s initiative to procure new generation capacity

Renewables will light up the darkness

More than 11 800MW of new electricity capacity from independent power producers will come online in 2022, giving Eskom space to do more maintenance on its unreliable infrastructure

Cape quakes no concern for Koeberg

Last week’s tremor has anti-nuclear campaigners questioning the safety of Koeberg, although the nuclear facility said the plant is designed to sustain a magnitude-seven earthquake

How to stop load-shedding, fast

COMMENT: The rapid roll-out of small-scale solar power will reduce pressure on the grid and and boost SMME sector
Advertising

Subscribers only

Toxic power struggle hits public works

With infighting and allegations of corruption and poor planning, the department’s top management looks like a scene from ‘Survivor’

Free State branches gun for Ace

Parts of the provincial ANC will target their former premier, Magashule, and the Free State PEC in a rolling mass action campaign

More top stories

Entrepreneurs strike Covid gold

Some enterprising people found ways for their ventures to survive the strictest lockdown levels

Ithala backs its embattled chairperson

Roshan Morar is being investigated in connection with KwaZulu-Natal education department backpack sanitiser tender worth R4-million and a batch of face masks that vanished

Inside the illicit trade in West Africa’s oldest artworks

Nok terracottas are proof that an ancient civilisation once existed in Nigeria. Now they are at the centre of a multimillion-dollar, globe-spanning underground industry — and once again, Nigeria is losing out

Emery Mwazulu Diyabanza: Liberating Africa from land of liberté

The cultural and political activist is on a quest to bring looted treasures back home
Advertising

press releases

Loading latest Press Releases…

The best local and international journalism

handpicked and in your inbox every weekday