By Dr. Byelongo Elisee Isheloke, May 12, 2022, 9:30 AM PDT
Should the carrot and stick approach be followed? On one hand transition is our destiny as businesses or a nation but on the other hand, one needs to balance things. Speakers at the indaba mirrored what it looks like to transit from coal to other forms of energy. Personalities from big mining companies spoke vividly about what the just transition from coal would be and how to repurpose the activities around the coal for a better future of all.
Moderated by Dr Kwasi Ampofa who skilfully led the debates about the just transition from coal, the session saw speakers cheered for their expert contribution with a sense of humour, they were namely Nikisi Lesufi the SE: Environment at Minerals Council South Africa; Michelle Manook, CEO of World Coal Association, Mosa Mabuza CGS CEO as well as Dr Nombasa Tsengwa, Exxaro Resources CEO designate.
In the discussions, they highlighted that: there is a need of collaboration between government and companies to ease transition from coal to other resources such gas and solar…This would be better than firms having to do their own things for example in terms of energy generation. Panellists explained that mining will create more impact and benefit many if companies work together with other stakeholders. It was emphasized that there are lessons to be learnt by companies and countries including developing and emerging nations. The following are some of those lessons:
- Diversity of technology helps when you don’t have your own minerals
- It helps to understand the role of technology, supply security and what it does for the business,
- Using energy in a very responsible way is paramount
- Japan is a good example in this regard
- More science is needed.
Countries which do not have own minerals could be dependent to those with minerals. Minerals and energy must be used in a very responsible way. Speakers pointed out the importance of technology nowadays for the mining sector. It was said that the community need to watch what companies and officials are doing. “You cannot tell the rural community to wait for the clean energy while neighbours already have lights, you need to do something to help them as well”, explained Dr Tsengwa. These issues need to be looked into carefully before deciding.
“I am trying not to talk about the 8 million Rands right now because it hasn’t reached our shores as yet” (laughter of the audience). Towards the end, the moderator asked a concise and precise question: What is a just transition? A transition that will do justice to all entails what exactly? The panellists spoke unequivocally when they said: it’s about doing things right; it’s gonna be about equity, flexibility, and technology; it’s about all of them; leaving no one out
What a day it was. The companies have spoken. They were heard. It won’t be too much to ask if ordinary people speak out tomorrow. Watch this space!
Dr. Byelongo Elisee Isheloke*
MiningIR Web Journalist
*The author is an Associate Professor at Institut Supérieur Pédagogique (ISP) & Rector of Université Espoir du Congo (UEC)