UPDATE 1-South Africa's Exxaro to halt investment in thermal coal

  • Reuters
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UPDATE 1-South Africa's Exxaro to halt investment in thermal coal
Credit: © Reuters.

(Adds detail, CEO quote and background)

JOHANNESBURG, Feb 2 (Reuters) - South African coal company Exxaro Resources EXXJ.J will not invest in new thermal coal assets, Chief Executive Mxolisi Mgojo said on Tuesday.

Exxaro, which exports coal as well as supplying it for domestic power generation, said the company would continue to supply thermal coal to state-owned power utility Eskom's Medupi and Matimba power stations through its coal contracts.

"As we come to the the end of life of our other coal reserves, we will not be building any new ones," Mgojo said during a virtual panel at the Investing in African Mining Indaba conference.

Exxaro, which also has interests in mineral sands, iron ore and energy, has sought opportunities in greener energy and acquired full ownership of two wind farms in the Eastern Cape province in 2019. began seeking investment opportunities in water, food security and cleaner energy in 2017 and has already put up some of its coal assets for sale as part of a strategic review of its portfolio. Africa, the continent's biggest greenhouse gas emitter, gets most of its power from coal-fired power stations run by Eskom, but plans to move towards a more diversified mix of generation sources.

Despite mounting pressure to try halt climate change, moving to renewable energy sources is seen as sensitive in a country in which mining is a major employer.

The South African coal industry employed more than 94,00 people in 2019 out of a total of around 460,000 employees across the industry.

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