SOUTH Africa had to assist its mining industry produce cleaner coal in order to meet its decarbonisation targets whilst simultaneously economically accessing its significant coal resources, said July Ndlovu, CEO of Anglo Coal, a unit of Anglo American.
In a report by BusinessLive, Ndlovu said: “There is an emerging imperative to develop clean coal technologies to alleviate an imminent social and economic catastrophe that will be brought about as a result of this pandemic.”
A number of cleaner coal technologies have been developed to mitigate the environmental impact along the value chain, said BusinessLive. For example, high-efficiency, low-emission technologies and carbon capture, utilisation and storage are all commercially available today, the publication added.
Ndlovu was speaking at a Minerals Council South Africa webinar on advancing the just transition through coal technology and innovation.
“The technologies work, but the economics don’t. By some measurements and estimates, power plants with carbon capture utilisation and storage (CCUS) cost roughly 70% more than regular coal plants,” he said.
“Because there is cheap and plentiful coal [in South Africa], and it also remains the single largest source to generate electricity worldwide, clean or cleaner coal technologies actually have the potential to revolutionise the coal value chain,” Ndlovu was quoted by BusinessLive to have said.
“Economically viable technologies are the only solution to helping developing nations to continue using coal efficiently, but in an environmentally sustainable manner.”