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africa|aluminium|coal|engineering|engineering-news|mining

On-The-Air (27/10/2023)

Martin Creamer discusses carbon emissions and green hydrogen

27th October 2023

By: Martin Creamer

Creamer Media Editor

     

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Every Friday, SAfm’s radio anchor Sakina Kamwendo speaks to Martin Creamer, publishing editor of Engineering News & Mining Weekly. Reported here is this Friday’s At the Coalface transcript:

Kamwendo: South Africa’s biggest mining company has already cut a fifth of its carbon emissions.

Creamer: That is Anglo American and it has been able to cut 21% of its carbon emissions, but not as a result of its activities in South Africa, unfortunately. It has been able to cut these, because of what is happening in Chile, in South America, what is happening in Peru, in South America, and what will happen in Australia in 2025.

We find in South Africa and Southern Africa, things are slower and that is going to possibly hit us quite hard, because as South Africans start trying to export their goods into the various markets of the world, they could well be penalised in the future for not using renewable energy. People say you can't get your premium prices, because you have used coal-fired power. Other countries outrun us in bringing in this new renewable energy licensing and I think that we should be moving much faster here.

Kamwendo: Hillside Aluminium in KwaZulu-Natal is investigating ways of reducing its carbon intensity.

Creamer: Again, this is a carbon problem popping up. South 32 had their Annual General Meeting in Australia this week and they raised the issue of Hillside Aluminium in KwaZulu Natal being their source of carbon intensity and the need for them to produce aluminium with renewables is urgent, because you are finding that already a green price premium is being paid on aluminium if it is made with clean electricity. If you look at the aluminium price at the moment, it is nothing to write home about.

As they start penalising South African aluminium as it gets into Europe, this is going to be a big blow for us. So what Hillside are doing, is they are trying to get Eskom agreement on being at least credited for the nuclear power within the South African electricity grid to give their aluminium some greenness to get into Europe without being penalised. Half of aluminium is electricity, so they have got a big challenge ahead of them. There are 30 000 direct and indirect jobs that have to be protected. So, we’ve got to move faster in South Africa.

Kamwendo: A toolkit has been piloted to bring green hydrogen into the realm of community development.

Creamer: We have to pat the Germans on the back here. This is the German cooperative development, it is called GIZ and what they have done is they have created a toolkit for South African companies to introduce green hydrogen into community development. Now, they have realized that it is the big companies that will be producing the green hydrogen.

It is the Sasol’s and the Anglo Americans, but there are affected communities in all this. They want the green hydrogen development to get into these communities as well, to benefit those communities. So, they have developed a toolkit where bigger companies can take the green hydrogen in to the various areas as part of a pilot project. They have invited expressions of interest. They have put out adverts, so people can come forward, companies can come forward and they can use this toolkit to pilot the green energy into the communities and then also give feedback as to whether it is working well and what should be done to advance the toolkit still further.

It is to the great credit of GIZ of Germany, working with the Presidency in South Africa, and they have been in South Africa since 1995 to try and improve the lives of the people here and this is another praiseworthy step that they are taking.

Kamwendo: Thanks very much. Martin Creamer is publishing editor of Engineering News & Mining Weekly.

Edited by Creamer Media Reporter

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