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Orion aims to be South Africa’s first fully green-powered junior miner

By David Whitehouse
Posted on Thursday, 26 August 2021 15:38

Orion Minerals aims to fully power its South Africa operations with wind and solar power in the long term. REUTERS/Mike Hutchings

Australian Orion Minerals aims to become the first junior miner in South Africa to be fully powered by renewable energy at its Prieska and Okiep projects in Northern Cape province, CEO Errol Smart tells The Africa Report.

Northern Cape is one of the best places in the world for wind and solar power; it has the potential to become Africa’s largest renewable energy hub, Smart says from Mbombela (Nelspruit) in South Africa. His long-term target is for both projects to be fully powered by renewable energy.

In June, President Cyril Ramaphosa said private companies such as miners will be able to generate their own power, avoiding the risks of outages imposed by state-owned utility Eskom. “There is a race on” to be the country’s first miner to run fully on green power, Smart says, and the company is already able to access renewable power at half the Eskom cost.