South African coal miners arrive at ‘landmark’ renewable energy MoU with Eskom

South Africa’s two biggest coal producers – Exxaro Resources and Seriti Resources – have struck a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with state-owned power utility Eskom to develop renewable energy projects.

The first phase is expected to include a number of solar photovoltaic facilities both on-mine and at related Eskom sites, and future projects could include energy storage and wind power.

The move by Exxaro and Seriti, who collectively account for around 80% of South Africa’s coal supply, is an attempt to lower their carbon footprints in the midst of rising pressure from climate-conscious shareholders and campaigners.

“This is a significant, landmark development in South Africa’s energy transition to a low carbon economy for three of South Africa’s largest players in the mining and energy sectors,” commented Exxaro’s CEO Mxolisi Mgojo.

The trio said the MOU was a step towards achieving a just transition, without jeopardising the country’s fragile energy supply or livelihoods. The companies said that the new projects would create jobs and re-skilling opportunities.

Eskom CEO Andre de Ruyter said: “This is one of the many initiatives Eskom has embarked on to achieve a net zero status by 2050.”

The companies committed to begin the projects ‘as soon as possible’, subject to regulatory approvals.