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On-The-Air (22/09/2023)

Martin Creamer unpacks Gautrain developments and green energy.

22nd September 2023

By: Martin Creamer

Creamer Media Editor

     

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Every Friday, SAfm’s radio anchor speaks to Martin Creamer, publishing editor of Engineering News & Mining Weekly. This week Martin Creamer speaks to SAfm radio anchor Bongiwe Zwane and reported here is this Friday’s At the Coalface transcript:

Zwane: The empowerment group led by Mzolisi Diliza is keen to see the Gautrain run entirely by South Africans.

Creamer: This is a very interesting project, because this is a public-private partnership, which a lot of the Transnet people are looking at and the ports people are looking at. This has been going on for 15 years, but the tender is offered by the Gauteng government, because the Gauteng Provincial Government owns the Gautrain.

Now, it will be calling for new tenders, for people to bid again, to run this and to operate it. The most successful component of it, up to now, has been the black economic empowerment component. In fact, if you look at it from a South African point of view, the BEE component is like the last South African component standing, because the other South African components have, over the years, withdrawn. The BEE component has been led by Mzolisi Diliza.

We knew him several years back as the Chief Executive of the old Chamber of Mines, which became Minerals Council South Africa. He has built up this empowered company, the Strategic Partnership Group, into something quite remarkable. Diliza likes the Strategic Partnership Group to be known as SPG, and SPG has increased its shareholding substantially. SPG been responsible for all the maintenance and they responsible for the stations and the upkeep.

They also get a lot from the station advertising. SPG has built up a strong Gautrain base there. Now they believe that in the next bid, instead of having the British elements and the French elements in the foreign elements, this could become a 100%, entirely South African-operated entity. But, of course, we can't see it at this stage, because the tenders have still to be invited and who knows who will bid on those tenders. But at this stage, is the firm ambition of SPG to turn the Gautrain into a 100% South African operation.

Zwane: A new R2.5-billion renewable energy project coming out of its starting blocks in North West province is on its way to supplying the platinum mines within the African Rainbow Minerals company with clean, green electricity.

Creamer: The  SOLA Group that announced this week that it reached an agreement with a lot of the independent banks and commercial banks to put up this R2.5-billion project in North West to generate solar power. Now, if you look at SOLA, one of the big shareholders in there is not African Rainbow Minerals, but African Rainbow Energy, which is a component of the African Rainbow Minerals group.

Now, this operation will generate 132 megawatts of clean, green power. This is important, because this will go into the African Rainbow Minerals platinum mines. Platinum is associated with being clean and green. We are reaching the point now exports from South Africa will soon be judged on the extent to which they are decarbonised. Cross-border barriers are being put up by other countries, so if you want to send your product into Europe, for example, the day will come when they will say to the exporters, hang on guys, you produce this with coal-fired power, so you are going have to pay a penalty, a tariff.

Everybody is trying to avoid that and I think the banks can move forward very strongly with this project announced this week. It is going to be something that decarbonizes the platinum mines of Dr Patrice Motsepe’s African Rainbow Minerals, a very important step and something that South Africans need to watch very carefully as a model to follow.

Zwane: Thanks very much. Martin Creamer is publishing editor of Engineering News & Mining Weekly and he will be back at the Coalface at the same time next Friday.

Edited by Creamer Media Reporter

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