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Minerals Council South Africa supports the Paris agreement ambition of net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, and a people-centred and pragmatic just energy transition

The Minerals Council South Africa supports the Paris Climate Change Agreement ambition of net zero greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 2050. The Minerals Council fully supports the need for a people-centred and pragmatic just energy transition tailored at a country level to meet South Africa’s development, economic and energy security ambitions as outlined in the country’s latest Nationally Determined Contribution Report to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

The Minerals Council is developing a Net Zero 2050 Action Plan and pathway towards achieving the goal of net zero GHG emissions. Collaborative work with the National Business Initiative on a least- cost pathway is underway. This action plan for mining will include the central pillars of an increasing share of investment in renewable energy sources (green hydrogen, solar, wind, battery storage), research, development and innovation into new technologies, the ongoing adoption of

4IR technologies and modern mining methods, critical skills development, engaging the supplier base for collaborative programmes of GHG reductions and a realistic people- centred just energy transition. The Minerals Council has already hosted a detailed workshop on the opportunities of a green hydrogen economy, and consideration is being given to establishing a Green Hydrogen Leadership Forum to progress this agenda.

The Minerals Council emphasises the criticality of a pragmatic and people-centred just energy transition that recognises South Africa’s dependency on a reliable energy supply that is crucial for development and inclusive growth, and the significant employment and economic value created in the coal value chain. The transition must support greater investment in renewable energy over time without compromising our energy security. Mineral Council members have already targeted investment in 1.6GW in renewables in the next three years. Over the next decade, some 11GW of old-generation coal-fired power stations will need to be retired and the energy mix will require much greater investment in renewables. The critical need for clear, jointly developed plans involving government, industry, and trade unions on managing the transition in a just and people-centred manner is important.

The Minerals Council recognises the significant contribution that the coal mining sector is making to the industrialisation and development of South Africa. While the share of coal will decline over time, it will remain a significant provider of baseload electricity, employment, exports, and contributor to the economy over future decades. The Minerals Council is working closely with our coal members who are fully supportive of the people-centred and pragmatic just energy transition.

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On 5 October, the International Council on Mining and Metals (ICMM) released an open letter and updated position statement committing to Net Zero Scope 1 and 2 GHG emissions by 2050 or sooner, in line with the ambition of the Paris Agreement.

The ICMM statement and video can be accessed here:

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