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Government and Mining Private Public Partnership Yields Lephalale Solar Project

The highly anticipated Lephalale Solar Project (LSP) was successfully launched on November 16, 2022, marking a significant milestone after years of meticulous planning. This groundbreaking endeavour was made possible through a collaborative effort between mining company Exxaro and its wholly-owned subsidiary, Cennergi. The momentous event took place in the vicinity of the Eskom Medupi and Matimba power stations, situated in the Waterberg District, and was attended by esteemed representatives from government, Egypt and key players in the energy sector.

With construction already underway, the LSP is projected to be completed by the second quarter of 2025. During the peak stage of construction, the project is expected to create between 400 and 500 job opportunities for local residents.

Valued at an estimated R1.56 billion, the LSP will establish a state-of-the-art solar facility with an impressive installed capacity of 68 megawatts. This equates to the installation of approximately 129,000 solar panels on site, directly supplying power to Grootegeluk Mine in Lephalale. Over its 25-year operating agreement, the facility will generate 176 watts of clean energy, significantly reducing emissions and promoting sustainability.

Speaking to stakeholders, Leon Groenewalt, the Managing Director of Cennergi, expressed the company’s commitment to securing approximately 50 permanent positions and promoting local procurement throughout the 25-year operational period. As part of their dedication to the local community, Cennergi will contribute 1% of its pre-tax revenue annually for the entire duration of the project.

“In 2020, our team was entrusted with the task of making a positive impact on Grootegeluk by reducing costs, decarbonizing, creating employment opportunities, and giving back to the local community. In 2023, we received bank funding approval from Standard Bank and Nedbank, covering 75% of the required debt,” stated Groenewalt.

Highlighting the strategic objective, Dr. Nombasa Tsengwa, the Chief Executive Officer of Exxaro, emphasised their commitment to addressing South Africa’s energy crisis and improving access to electricity. Dr. Tsengwa proudly regarded Exxaro as an African company at the forefront of tackling these challenges through transformative projects like the LSP.

Addressing delegates and media representatives, Premier Chupu Stanley Mathabatha warmly welcomed the Public Private Partnership (PPP) initiative. He acknowledged the shared journey embarked upon to drive economic growth, foster sustainable socio-economic development, and create much-needed employment opportunities through cleaner and greener renewable energy.

“This is the path we have collectively chosen, embracing the principles of PPP, as we strive to overcome obstacles, uplift our economy, and create a brighter future. I call upon all stakeholders, including our communities, to rally behind this project. Together, let us turn our vision into reality,” concluded Premier Mathabatha.

By: Emmaculate Cindi

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