South African mines could generate their own electricity before the end of 2020. Several south African mines could possibly have their own power generation capacity. The total electricity that could be generated by these projects amounts to 690MW, with 586MW being sourced from photovoltaic solar installations.
Solar Photovoltaic (PV) is a technology that converts sunlight (Solar radiation) into direct current electricity by using semiconductors. When the sun hits the semiconductor within the PV cell, electrons are freed and form an electric current.
Several of these could be completed in nine months, including the 2000MW currently under development at Sibanye stillwater who is the leading international precious metals mining company, with a diverse portfolio of platinum group metal and gold operations and projects.
A presentation by the minerals councils at this year’s Mining Indaba showed that at least seven mining companies are either busy developing or considering potential projects.
- Vendata: Headquartered in Johannesburg South Africa – is a grouping of Zinc assets located in South Africa, Namibia and Ireland, owned by India Vendata Limited. Vendata plans to add 2000MW of self-generating capacity to its operations in the Northern Cape within the next three years.
- The Goldfields South Deep Mine: Is located in the Mpumalanga region of South Africa and one of the world’s biggest gold mines. It is also the seventh deepest mine in the world with a depth of 2,995m below the surface. the mining company plans to add 40MW of solar power, supplemented by another 23MW of diesel generation within the next year.
- Anglo American is another industry heavyweight which plans to add a solar generating plant at one of its mines.