Renewable energy – Miners fulfil the ‘E’ in ESG

And so we’ve officially turned the first page of our 2021 story – the year is no longer new. In fact, we’re just a stone’s throw from entering the second quarter of this calendar year.

Time truly flies when you’re working from home and spending the majority of your day on Zoom or Teams. So much so that I’ve started contemplating asking the industry, not only about production figures, but also about percentage of time spent talking to colleagues on screen, or the number of virtual meetings conducted over the last month. I have no doubt those would be impressive statistics, depending on how you look at it, of course.

Regardless of our working circumstances, we have lots of reasons to feel upbeat right now. Commodity prices, generally speaking, are performing well, and our ‘new normal’ has almost become so normal that we no longer need to discuss COVID-19 in every conversation. These two points alone are enough cause for celebration.

Having painted the circumstantial picture I’m sure most of us can identify with, it’s time to ask, ‘What has my attention right now?’ An important question whose answer lies in maximising on new opportunities that have revealed themselves over the last year.

For our industry, one overriding ‘catchphrase’ comes to mind, and yes, you guessed it – ESG. Such a commonly used acronym that I have no need to write it out in full since we all know what it is and we’re all adjusting our business models to ensure we are ticking the ‘E’, ‘S’ and ‘G’ boxes.

One of the Mining Review Africa Teams meetings

It is of course a loaded acronym, and refers to a lot of different elements within our businesses. In this edition, we have covered one part of the ‘E’ – environment – and delivered a comprehensive overview of our industry’s quick shift towards renewable energy.

Wind back the clock just two or three years and you would likely find green energy a low priority agenda item. Today, it has made it onto the top 10 list. You only have to read our article on page 58 to see just how many miners have already invested in this cleaner energy source, and more and more will follow.

The world and its investors are demanding a green footprint from industry and renewable energy is one way to achieve this; and it offers the added financial benefit of reducing operating costs quite substantially. Not to mention the reliability factor that producing your own energy delivers. This is something quite important in Africa where state owned utilities continue the struggle to get it right.

Interesting then that we have brought coal and uranium into the same edition. How do these commodities fit into our energy future? I can only entice you to read the articles in this issue and find out what the experts – miners, funders and service providers – are saying. No doubt you’ll find this edition of Mining Review Africa a worthy read!