JOHANNESBURG (miningweekly.com) – Diversified mining and marketing company Anglo American has signed a memorandum of understanding with global renewable energy company EDF Renewables to work together towards developing a regional renewable energy ecosystem in South Africa.
The regional renewable energy ecosystem is expected to be designed to meet Anglo’s operational electricity requirements in South Africa through the supply of 100% renewable electricity by 2030.
This partnership supports the resilience of the local electricity supply systems and the wider decarbonisation of energy in the country, the London- and Johannesburg-listed company stated in a release to Mining Weekly.
Anglo has already secured 100% renewable electricity supply for all its operations in South America, resulting in 56% of its global grid supply expected to be sourced from renewables by 2023.
In South Africa, while there is an abundance of renewable energy sources, such as wind and solar, there is limited renewables infrastructure to harness it, the company noted.
As Anglo progresses towards its 2040 target of carbon-neutral operations, the partnership with EDF Renewables is designed to abate the largest single source of its Scope 2 emissions, being its current grid supply in South Africa. The regional renewable energy ecosystem aims to support South Africa’s decarbonisation ambitions and the country’s just energy transition, creating a sustainable and inclusive future.
The regional renewable energy ecosystem will draw on South Africa’s natural renewable energy potential to develop a network of on-site and off-site solar and wind farms, amongst other opportunities, while offering 24/7 renewable energy to Anglo’s operations.
Anglo American anticipates that a number of partners will provide equity financing for the regional renewable energy ecosystem, in addition to the system attracting debt financing that is typical for high quality energy infrastructure projects.
The benefits the partnership is expected to bring to South Africa and the region, include:
- implementing 3 GW to 5 GW of solar and wind renewable electricity and storage over the next decade, thereby increasing total grid supply resilience;
- supporting the decarbonisation initiatives of governments across Southern Africa; and
- stimulating the development of new economic sectors, local production and supply chains.
Anglo CE Mark Cutifani described the announcement as a further major step towards addressing on-site energy requirements, which are the largest source of the company’s operational emissions.
In addition to addressing Anglo’s Scope 2 footprint in South Africa, Cutifani said the partnership complemented the company’s FutureSmart Mining™ programme’s abatement of its Scope 1 emissions through low- and zero-emission technologies, including the hydrogen haul truck system, and the development of South Africa’s Hydrogen Valley.
“Step by step, we are changing the very nature of mining and how our stakeholders experience our business, while supporting a just transition,” Cutifani added.
EDF Renewables chairperson and CEO, and group senior executive VP renewable energies Bruno Bensasson expressed delight at being able to take a step forward with Anglo towards what he described as an ambitious partnership.
“We are committed to supporting industrial players by providing low carbon competitive electricity that substitutes fossil energies and improves wider social and environmental issues.
“This project is also contributing to the country’s energy ambition of furthering the development of decarbonised energy,”
stated Bensasson in noting its alignment with EDF Group’s CAP 2030 strategy, which aims to double its net renewable installed energy capacity worldwide – hydropower included – from 28 GW in 2015 to 60 GW in 2030.
Anglo’s management board chairperson in South Africa Nolitha Fakude said South Africa was embarking on the next phase of its economic development, with clean, reliable and affordable energy playing a critical role in delivering this potential – helping to catalyse new industrial hubs and stimulate local economic activity.
Fakude reinforced the company’s commitment to supporting this just energy transition, encouraging growth and development for host communities and South Africa through projects such as the regional renewable energy ecosystem, which she described as being very much in tune with Anglo’s collaborative regional development approach.
“Aligned to our longstanding commitment to economic transformation and empowerment, we intend to incorporate a local black economic empowerment partner into our regional renewable energy ecosystem and are exploring a range of community partnership models that will allow our host communities to share in the ecosystem’s success,” said Fakude.
EDF Renewables South Africa CEO Tristan de Drouas said:
“As a significant low-carbon energy player in South Africa, we are delighted to be partnering with Anglo American to develop a regional renewable energy ecosystem, building on from a first project together in 2021.
“With our global expertise in energy infrastructure development, design and delivery, our grid optimisation technology, and our experience in the region, we are uniquely suited to partner with Anglo American to transform its environmental footprint, while meaningfully supporting the region’s decarbonisation efforts,” De Drouas added.