MINING experts welcomed minerals and energy minister Gwede Mantashe’s comments at the opening of the Investing in African Mining Indaba in Cape Town on promoting more and faster independent energy generation. But his speech was regarded as short on detail and marked by some important omissions.
At a press conference after his presentation, Mantashe said the intention in seeking to create an alternative energy generation entity to compete with Eskom was to encourage any investors who were seeking a return and for government to partner with them.
He said government’s vision was to have different generation companies that compete in selling power to the grid, which will bring down prices, along the model that had worked in the Netherlands. The new company could focus on serving the power needs of industrial customers; for example, the chrome companies that were struggling as a result of costly power. If they could only access cheaper power, they could target industrial opportunities.
Peter Leon, the global co-chair of the Herbert Smith Freehills Africa group, said the minister’s speech was commendable as it addressed the energy crisis, but there were other “elephants in the room” as far as the mining industry was concerned.
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