Boost for new miners

POWER supplier Eskom has unveiled a new strategy that seeks to see the world's second largest procurer of coal using its muscle to empower black emerging miners.

Should the ambitious strategy be successful, black miners will by 2020 supply the largest portion of coal to the parastatal.

Dubbed Eskom's black emerging mining coal strategy, it consists of five pillars. They include the creation of a mine development fund and using coal trading as an option to secure coal resources and enhance transformation.

The other three are increasing black ownership as a means to transform the industry, using commercially acceptable levers to increase black ownership and consolidating smaller black-owned mining resources.

Eskom CEO Brian Dames said the parastatal would partner with development finance institutions and private sector funders to support investment by black emerging miners.

"We want to transform the ownership of those who supply coal to us. The majority of our coal supply in 2020 should be done by black-owned confident miners who have the right set of skills and have viable businesses that are in this industry for the long term," Dames said.

Eskom currently procures just over 60% of its coal from eight mining companies. "We have a clear need for more coal and there is a significant need in the market for new mines to be opened up," he said.

Dames said the fund would help emerging miners to set up new operations. It takes up to to 10 years to set up a new coal mine.

"We need to make sure that emerging miners are given the opportunity to start setting up mines now," he said.

He said Eskom would partner with development finance institutions as they are better placed to deal with the administration and due diligence requirement of the new strategy, which will be implemented as soon as possible. He said established mines were not threatened by the strategy, adding that they pledged their support.