Amplats Works Towards Decarbonizing Mining in South Africa

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Anglo American Platinum (Amplats), a subsidiary of multinational mining company, Anglo American, has evaluated options to implement multiple forms of renewable energy at its mining operations in South Africa.

According to Amplats CEO Natascha Viljoen, the company aims to reduce its absolute greenhouse gas emissions by 30% by 2030, and achieve zero Scope 1 and 2 emissions by 2040, which were recorded as 3.94-million tons of carbon dioxide in 2020.

The design and construction of infrastructure required for the storage and refueling of hydrogen at its Mogalakwena platinum group metals mine in South Africa’s Limpopo province has been completed, with delivery of the haulage truck’s fuel cell expected for the fourth quarter of 2021, following the completion of the hydrogen refueling test and the installation of relevant hydrogen storage capacity. First production of hydrogen is expected by the end of the year, with installation of the mine’s electrolyzer unit currently underway.

Amplats has set goals to generate approximately 100 MW of renewable energy at Mogalakwena by the end of 2023, and to add 220 MW of solar capacity to its proposed hydrogen-powered haul-truck program. The company has also stated that it supports the installation of wind power on its east- and west-coast operations, which will be augmented by solar plants in the country’s Northern Cape province.

The company has a four-part plan to reach its goal of zero emissions, which includes business improvement, the commissioning of Mogalakwena’s solar photovoltaic facility, implementation of hydrogen fuel-cell mine trucks across its entire fleet, and the evaluation of introducing multiple forms of renewable energy.

The move towards renewable energy comes as the world’s biggest platinum mining company aims to reduce its carbon footprint and move away from its reliance on South Africa’s state-owned utility company, Eskom, whose aging coal-fired plants have been unable to meet nationwide electricity demand.

“We think there’s an integrated approach that works quite well for us as a company. It works for the local communities. It helps Eskom in terms of the broader package and stability of the system. It improves cost structure and reduces carbon, which is key to all of us over the longer term,” stated Mark Cutifani, CEO of Anglo American in an interview with Mining Weekly in July, who added, “If I look at the trucks we have around the world with shovels, by just converting the trucks to hydrogen, we reduce our carbon footprint by another 15%.”

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Matthew Goosen

Matthew Goosen

Matthew Goosen is a Video Editor and Content Writer at Energy Capital & Power. He holds an Honours Degree in Film and Media Studies at the University of Cape Town and is currently undergoing his Masters Degree. Born in Pretoria and raised internationally, he has been living in Cape Town since 2013.

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