Mining industry struggles with ailing infrastructure; government and companies aim to find joint solutions.
South Africa’s aging infrastructure is increasingly becoming a problem for the country’s industry. The energy-intensive mining sector has been struggling with power outages for some time, and production of platinum and palladium is expected to fall this year as a result, Bloomberg reported in January (paywall). The power shortage is likely to continue for at least another two years, it added. Meanwhile, the water supply is also suffering because the necessary pumps also require electricity. The industry heavyweights Glencore and Anglo American Platinum, as well as other companies, now want to address this problem. US$1.5 billion is set to be invested to supply several hundred thousand people with drinking water in addition to the large platinum and chrome operations, Bloomberg reports. 400 kilometers of pipelines alone are planned for this purpose, the report further states. Financing will be provided by various domestic and foreign banks, the report adds. The project could serve as a model, and the companies involved are already in talks about a similar initiative to supply energy to mining operations and communities.