Minerals Council of SA has warned that increased electricity tariffs over the next three years, coupled with the carbon tax, threaten more than 100 000 mining jobs.

BusinessLive mining writer Allan Seccombe reported that ‘nearly a quarter of SA’s mining jobs will be lost because of the additional costs’.

‘Roger Baxter, CEO of the council, which represents more than 90% of SA’s mineral production by value, used the word “disaster” for the first time in relation to the ongoing difficulties at state-owned Eskom in supplying industry with electricity and the apparent inability to find a sustainable resolution to the problem.

‘Eskom, which supplies more than 90% of SA’s electricity, has battled to meet demand due to unplanned outages at a number of its coal-fired power plants. The utility is also unable to service its debt load of more than R419bn from revenue, raising red flags about its financial sustainability.’

Seccombe quoted Minerals Council chief economist Henk Langenhoven as saying that the consequences of the tariff increases, which start at 9.4% in the first year, on the gold and platinum mines would be the loss of more than 90 000 jobs at the end of three years.

The report noted that, considering the consequences of the carbon tax on marginal mining companies and the increase in costs, the Minerals Council said another estimated 11 000 jobs could be lost, bringing total job losses from the tariff increases and the tax to 101 000.

This equalled nearly a quarter of South Africa’s 456 000 mining jobs.

Minerals Council CEO Roger Baxter believed the carbon tax was unnecessary in curtailing carbon emissions because the negative impact of Eskom’s erratic electricity supply and 538% tariff increase over the past decade meant South Africa could have a 13% reduction in greenhouse gases by 2025 and by up to 33% a decade later.

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