The Energy Intensive Users Group (EIUG) welcomes Black Mountain Mining (Pty) LTD (BMM) as a new member and looks forward to working together towards a establishing a sustainable energy supply industry. Black Mountain Mining is part of Vedanta Zinc International (VZI), a grouping of zinc assets located in South Africa and Namibia which in turn is part of the Global mining and Metal conglomerate, Vedanta Limited. Vedanta Limited is the 6th largest diversified resources company in the world and leading producer of Oil & Gas, Zinc, Lead, Silver, Copper, Iron ore, Steel, Aluminium and Power in India. VZI’s Black Mountain Mining operations in Deeps and Swartberg produce Polymetallic Ore containing Zinc, Lead, Copper, Silver and Magnetite while open pit operations in Gamsberg produce Zinc and Lead. All these assets are in the town of Aggeneys, Northern Cape in South Africa. VZI employs about 2700 people directly and indirectly of which about 99% are local South Africans, around 80% are from the Northern Cape and about 60% from the Namakwa District, where operations are located, making it one of the largest employers in the Northern Cape. 

As our latest member, Black Mountain Mining joins an organisation with significant technical expertise on energy matters from South Africa’s largest companies. We are committed to working with government, power utilities and other stakeholders to ensure South Africa has an energy supply industry that is financially viable, technically healthy and well managed. Reliable and affordable energy is essential for economic growth and development in our country, enabling industry to create and retain much needed employment opportunities. 

From an industry perspective, the onboarding of BMM will strengthen EIUG as well as diversify its portfolio through the addition of the Zinc Industry. The membership gives BMM an opportunity to realise its objectives of building a sustainable value chain, bring industrialisation in the region and be globally competitive post securing a consistent power supply at a low tariff from Eskom. Furthermore, it will enable BMM to double up its mining production and potentially anchor beneficiation of Zinc metal in South Africa which will in turn make South Africa a net exporter of Zinc. 

In addition, there is a need for decarbonisation of our economy to save our planet and ensure that South Africa remains a global competitor in this regard. To this end, there is an urgent need for restructuring of our Electricity Supply Industry to deal with these challenges. Large power users therefore need the collective wisdom of all role players to confront the challenges ahead and to ensure that South Africa continues to industrialize, grow and prosper. 

Like the rest of the world economies, our members are busy coordinating and implementing efforts to recover from the devastating effects of the pandemic and to this end, energy reliability and affordability becomes crucial as a catalyst for economic growth. The electricity supply industry is in dire need of a reform executed with intent and speed equal to the crisis. The government must therefore fast track progressive enabling policies and mechanisms including allowing private sector to generate power for own-use and aid in closing the national power supply deficit. The EIUG thus welcomes the consultation process initiated by government to increase the licensing limit for self-generation, however we are of the view this limit must at least be 50MW not 10MW as currently proposed in the government gazette. The EIUG will thus continue to engage with Eskom, NERSA, government departments and other stakeholders in a constructive manner to raise our concerns and work with them in finding solutions. 

The EIUG welcomes Black Mountain Mining and is committed to working with them to achieve our shared objective of growing the South African economy and for EIUG to be a trusted champion for energy reliability, affordability and sustainability to our stakeholders. 

Notes to the editors: 

The EIUG was established in 1999, and is a voluntary, non-profit association of energy intensive consumers whose members currently account for over 40% of the electrical energy consumed in South Africa. As electricity is a key input to the processes of these organisations, it is the ‘life blood’ of our businesses. Our members collectively contribute over 20% to the GDP of South Africa and employ over 650 000 people across multiple sectors, including mining, quarrying, manufacturing, electricity, transportation and water. The EIUG is dedicated to the promotion of the interests of energy users in South African Industry. 

The EIUG is a consumer-led organisation working for the good of the country. The group strongly believes that energy is the engine for economic growth and development in South Africa. We are therefore committed to working with government, power utilities and other stakeholders to ensure South Africa has energy industries which provide reliable supply at acceptable quality and competitive prices.