South Africa can become ‘global player’ in green hydrogen, says Minerals Council CEO

A developed green hydrogen economy in South Africa could create up to 40,000 jobs and generate US$400 million in GDP and $900 million in taxes per year by 2050, according to the Minerals Council South Africa.

“We think that South Africa will become a global player in the game of green hydrogen,” said the Council’s CEO Roger Baxter at the Investing in African Mining Indaba earlier this week. “The reason for thinking that is first of all we rank in the top ten sunniest countries in the world, making us very well placed to produce renewable energy from photovoltaics and from wind.”

Green hydrogen is a zero carbon fuel source that is produced using renewable energy to split water into hydrogen and oxygen. The fuel cell technology also requires platinum group metals (PGMs), a commodity group that South Africa produces on a scale unmatched by any other country in the world.

South Africa’s nascent green hydrogen industry and potential synergies with the mining sector were key topics discussed during this year’s Cape Town Mining Indaba. In a media brief, Anglo American market development principal Fahmida Smith said: Anglo is interested in hydrogen and sees it [as] perfectly aligned with our purpose of reimaging mining to improve people’s lives.”

The development of a national green hydrogen sector could result in a 1-2% increase in PGMs demand just from South Africa’s ‘green hydrogen valley’, the Minerals Council said.

Furthermore, South Africa’s green hydrogen economy sector could potentially be 25 times larger than the country’s iron ore mining industry by 2050, according to the findings of study by consulting company Singular.