S. African Goldmine To Tap The Sun For Energy Savings

S. African Goldmine To Tap The Sun For Energy Savings

South African goldmine Sibanye Gold hopes to save money on its electric bill by building a 10-megawatt solar power plant, said CEO Neal Froneman, according to a Bloomberg report in IndependentOnline.

Electricity costs have risen 60 percent since 2007 for Sibanye Gold despite the company using 16 percent less power, Froneman said during a presentation at a mining conference in Johannesburg.

“If electricity is going to become such a big part of our cost base, we have to look at putting in energy sources ourselves,” Froneman said. “We’ve got the space and South Africa has plenty of sunshine. It’s very viable and we’re doing a lot of work on it.”

Sibanye spun off by Gold Fields Ltd. this year.

Eskom Holdings, the state-run electricity company supplying 95 percent of South Africa’s power, raised rates 8 percent this year – half of the increase it sought from the regulator.

A further rate increase of about 10 percent was rejected by the mining industry, which says it will get its energy from other sources, Froneman said.

“We’re just at the point where the cost of photovoltaic cells now starts crossing over with the cost of electricity from Eskom,” he said. “There will come a time when we can do it cheaper.”