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Platinum Belt Power

Updated: Aug 8, 2023

By Paul Miller

This is the Platinum Belt - at least the portion from Sun City (top left) to Brits/Hartebeespoort (bottom right) in South Africa's North West Province.

Represented not by PGM, chrome or vanadium mines and their related smelters and the dimension stone quarries that litter the area - but by the large transmission and distribution electrical substations and major transmission lines that serve them, and the new renewable energy projects proposed for the area.

This is an energy hungry district.

It is here amongst the settlements, tailings dams, shaft headgears, irrigated fields, crisscrossing power lines and highways that the existing Rustmo (7 MW) and De Wildt (50 MW) solar PV and the RCL Matzonox animal waste biogas (6 MW) plants can expect to be joined by the following projects:

  • Royal Bafokeng Platinum - 98 MW solar PV

  • Impala Platinum - 170 MW in solar PV distributed in a number of smaller plants across the lease area

  • Tharisa - 35 MW solar PV

  • Bushveld Vametco - 3.5 MW solar PV plus 1 MW / 4 MWh Vanadium Redox Flow Battery

  • Sibanye Stillwater - 3 separate solar PV projects totaling 180MW - PV1 Bathopele - 85 MW, PV2 Karee 65 MW and PV3 Rowland 30 MW

  • Northam - Eland Mine - Solar PV 40MW plus 5MW electrolyser and hydrogen fuel cell

526.5 MW and still counting.

Glencore and Samancor, which operate 4 chrome smelting complexes across the belt are the major partners in a commitment by the Ferrochrome industry to build or contract 750MW of renewable energy - how much will actually be on the platinum belt, rather than wheeled in from elsewhere, is not yet clear. Anglo American Platinum's Waterval smelter/refinery will probably wheel in renewable energy, although specific plans are not yet clear either.

There has even been talk of building a new 5 MW hydroelectric plant on the outflow of the Hartebeespoort Dam on the Crocodile river.

See the original Linkedin post, with comments, here.

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