Full steam ahead on powerstation 3!

LEPHALALE – A new coal mine, a 600MW coal-fired power station and a 210 MW solar power plantation will add to the development of the Waterberg District in the near future.

Joe Meyer, general manager of the Grootegeluk, Medupi expansion project confirmed this week that Exxaro Coal will run the proposed Thabametsi coal mine to be developed adjacent to Grootegeluk mine in Lephalale. According to Exxaro’s interim financial report, first coal production could be achieved by 2016/17, but is dependent on the Waterberg Independent Power Producer (IPP) project and water supply development schedules.

Meyer also confirmed that Exxaro will be a partner in the IPP PowerStation through its energy company.

Both developments coincide with the Department of Energy’s National Integrated Resource Plan 2010 (NIRP 2010), which was issued at the end of March 2011. The plan indicates that coal-fired base-load IPP power stations have been brought into South Africa’s energy mix, paving the way for the development of Thabametsi as a supplier to such a power station planned for the Waterberg.

The report also indicates that non-binding term sheets for the off-take of 1 150MW of electricity have been signed between Exxaro and industrial off-takers. Evaluation and selection to short-list the IPPs has started in order to select the preferred IPP by the end of 2011.
Another exciting development is the possible construction of a 210MW solar plantation in the Steenbokpan area. According to Meyer feasibility studies, although not completed, show that the Waterberg is highly suited for such a development. He also reiterated Exxaro’s commitment to the environment and clean energy.

Exxaro CEO, Sipho Nkosi issued a statement recently saying that it would be inappropriate for Exxaro to be producing coal at the expected level of 80-million to 90-million tons a year in the next 10 to 15 years, and to have done nothing about clean power. “That’s why it’s critical for us to participate in renewable energy, because we believe it is very important.” LiN Nuus /Bosveld Bulletin