FILE PHOTO: THE South African mining industry was ready to help ease the country’s power shortages by building up to 609MW in electricity generating capacity. PHOTO: SUPPLIED

SOUTH African mining companies may spend as much as R60 billion ($3.8 billion) on renewable power projects that could help plug the country’s electricity supply shortage.

Companies could build 3 900 megawatts of solar, wind and battery energy projects and help supplement supplies from the struggling state-owned Eskom, Roger Baxter, chief executive officer of Minerals Council of South Africa, said Tuesday in an emailed statement.

In September Baxter said the lobby group’s members planned to spend as much as R40 billion to construct 2 000 megawatts of power generation capacity.

That was after President Cyril Ramaphosa announced in June that the limit for companies to produce their power without a license would be raised to 100 megawatts from 1 megawatt, clearing the way for miners to start generating their own electricity.

“There is a pressing need for the mining industry to supplement Eskom electricity supply,” Baxter said.

“The benefits extend to diversifying supply, reducing exposure to continued high increases in prices, unpredictable supply” and reduce climate-warming emissions, he said.

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