JOHANNESBURG (miningweekly.com) – South Africa’s only rural community-owned mining company Royal Bafokeng Platinum (RBPlat), which delivered record dividend-yielding earnings and production in 2021, is close to completing its renewable energy study on the building of an embedded 30 MW photovoltaic (PV) power plant.
“It’s almost complete…we’re almost there, into renewable energy,” RBPlat CEO Steve Phiri said of the company’s planned modular PV initiative, for which an application for an environmental impact assessment (EIA) is being lodged. (Also watch attached Creamer Media video.)
On the time expected to be taken for the EIA approval, he said: “That’s the only thing that could cause a delay because it’s out of our own hands and in government hands. But given what President Cyril Ramaphosa has declared, we think that the red tape will be cut because it’s so important for the national economy itself,” Phiri added during a Teams interview with Mining Weekly.
Identifying opportunities to diversify into green energy supply is one of the key operational objectives of the JSE-listed company.
On the confidence in platinum group metals (PGMs) being generated by far-reaching international government strategy announcements on widespread uptake of green hydrogen, Phiri said: “The world is changing. This is a hydrogen world, looking forward at it. The world is decarbonising. We’re going to clean hydrogen and that clean hydrogen needs the PGMs. We’re going to go into fuel cells, and they need PGMs, particularly platinum, so there’s a bright future for platinum.
“I’ve got absolute confidence in platinum’s bright future, and if you listen to my peers, they’re all singing the same song, because the world is moving in that direction.
“You hear government declaring hydrogen policy and Europe, with the European Union, declaring hydrogen policy. The president of the US is driving it. China is developing fuel cell vehicles quite exponentially. The world is moving in that direction,” he added.
Questioned on his view of the best outcome for all stakeholders of the interest of Implats and Northam Platinum in acquiring RBPlat, he said: “It’s quite a difficult one to answer because we have taken a conscious decision, and correctly so, that we do not want to be seen as taking one side or the other. We don’t want to be partial.”
The company would be looking at the best interests of the shareholders and the stakeholders.
“We’ve got two options, one Implats, the other is Northam, with different characteristics and delivering different synergies, with the Northam transaction being the combination of two good management teams and two good assets, and therefore bulking up the cash flows and their return to shareholders quite quickly and easily. They are distant from the area and therefore it lacks those operational synergies when compared with Implats, which is contiguous with RBPlat and the question …….