Minister of Mineral Resources Gwede Mantashe now has a real poser on his hands. SA's mining industry has asked him to urgently allow mines to build their own power plants, saying they could generate 869MW of solar power and up to another 800MW of conventional power themselves. Some mining companies are ready to roll. All it requires is a few signatures. Will he do it?
The Minerals Council has joined the City of Cape Town in requesting the government to lift the requirement that institutions buy electricity exclusively from Eskom, reflecting a growing feeling that Eskom will not solve its issues in the near term.
Minerals Council CEO Roger Baxter said in a statement last night that government should "should stop trying to place all their eggs in the one basket called Eskom".
"We can clearly see that over the past 12 years, despite hundreds of billions of rand funded through much higher electricity prices and substantial taxpayer-funded bailouts, that Eskom is in an even worse position and this is having a materially deleterious impact on the economy and mining in particular.
"We urge government to take decisive steps not only to fix Eskom, but also to enable the private...