Good For Gwede! South Africa is Winning the Right to Stay Industrialized
by PD Lawton 23 April 2023
Minister Gwede Mantashe at Klipspruit Colliery
Minister of Mineral Resources and Energy, Gwede Mantashe, attended the recent opening of a new underground coal shaft at Klipspruit Colliery in the coal-rich Mpumalanga province of South Africa.
Win-Win with Coal
The expansion of the coal industry is a win for Eskom and the national grid as 80% of South Africa`s energy capacity is from coal. Unlike renewables, solar and wind, coal and nuclear are baseload energy sources. Baseload energy sources can supply the national grid 24/7.
Not only is the new underground coal shaft a win towards the end of load-shedding, it is a win for Mpumalanga communities where unemployment is very high and where there are many unemployed skilled miners wanting to work in the industry. Mining provides productive employment and wealth creation.
Near Zero Pollution is a Reality
“The opening of Klipspruit Colliery underground section is a good story to tell and a testament that coal will be here for a long time, and may be here permanently with the investment in clean coal technologies “, the Minister said in his talk.
Super modern technology using gypsum filters can now reduce Sulphur Dioxide pollution to near zero. Such technology is being applied in many countries, including China and Pakistan who jointly built the Sahiwal Coal Power Plant in Punjab Province which commenced in 2017 and has 1320 MW capacity. It has near zero emissions and is a flagship Belt and Road project.
Just Energy Transition
Minister Mantashe has always maintained that energy poverty is Africa`s most critical hurdle to full-scale industrialization. He has courageously defended South Africa`s right to use its abundant coal reserves in the pursuit of economic progress. And he has proudly defended South Africa`s nuclear industry which is one of the most innovative worldwide.
For him, the opening of this new shaft is important because he believes in coal as a means to wealth creation, not just for investors but for communities that are experiencing high levels of unemployment.
“I am a great believer in development, transformation & changing lives of the people of SA. This is the reason why I submitted an apology to the #ANCNEC meeting this morning to join the official opening of Seriti’s Klipspruit Colliery underground section.”
In fact, the term Just Energy Transition was coined by the Labour movement to protect the livelihoods of those working in the fossil fuel sector put at risk by anti-carbon regulations . The term is now wrongly used in reference to `justice for the planet`. The green lobby is largely blinkered to human suffering and their fanaticism blinds them to the fact that it is through scientific and technological progress that solutions will be found to environmental problems, such as the modern filtration systems for coal power plants. The solution is not to take the European road to Net Zero and de-industrialization.
South Africans can be very proud of their Minister Mantashe!