South Africa is committed to just transition to cleaner energy, but coal will for some time be vital for the country’s economic growth and employment creation, said Minister of Mineral Resources and Energy Gwede Mantashe on Tuesday at the coal colloquium in Pretoria.
Mantashe said coal accounts for about 70 percent of the primary energy consumption, 75 percent the electricity generation, and 30 percent of petroleum liquid fuels in the country’s energy mix.
“The transition must speak to the contribution of coal to energy security, sizeable contribution to the gross domestic product, large contingent of employees, and other relevant economic factors. Our climate change agenda cannot afford to ignore these national interests. They must be integrated into our plans to move from high carbon emissions to low carbon emissions,” said Mantashe.
He called on the captains of industry to demonstrate the commitment to just transition and the country’s national interests in coal mining and coal power stations.
Mantashe said there is a potential for the country to export coal to China.
“Strong international coal prices of around 130 U.S. dollars per tonne have raised the attractiveness of exports, with most of South Africa’s export coal going to India and Pakistan. China is also reopening opportunities for imports from South Africa,” he said.