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Coal 2018: A review of South Africa's coal sector

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Despite concerns about greenhouse-gas emissions, coal – which is used to generate about 37% of the world’s electricity and plays a crucial role in industries such as iron and steel manufacture – will continue to be a significant energy source for decades to come. South African coal producers are also benefiting, as strong demand from State-owned power utility Eskom and other local industrial customers competes against surging global demand. The commodity is the largest revenue generator in the country’s mining industry, earning about R131.40‑billion in 2017. It also contributes immensely to the fiscus in taxes and royalties and employs tens of thousands of people directly, with many more employed indirectly outside the sector. Despite its importance, South Africa’s coal mining sector faces several constraints that might impact on its sustainability and growth. In its Coal Strategy 2018, Minerals Council South Africa – formally the Chamber of Mines of South Africa – identifies the policy and regulatory environment, inadequate infrastructure, difficulties in accessing capital and land, and the challenges posed by technological advances as potential constraints to the sector. Creamer Media’s Coal 2018 report examines South Africa’s coal industry with regard to the business environment, the main participants, local demand, coal exports and coal logistics, projects being undertaken by the large and smaller participants, as well as various issues affecting the sector, including labour issues and environmental considerations.

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