A mining perspective on the potential of renewable electricity sources for operations in South Africa Part I—the research approach and internal evaluation process

Votteler, R. G. ; Brent, A. C. (2017)

CITATION: Votteler, R. G. & Brent, A. C. 2017. A mining perspective on the potential of renewable electricity sources for operations in South Africa Part I—the research approach and internal evaluation process. Journal of the Southern African Institute of Mining and Metallurgy, 117(3):285-297, doi:10.17159/2411-9717/2017/v117n3a10.

The original publication is available at http://www.saimm.co.za

Article

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: The business performance of mining corporations in South Africa is adversely affected by the constantly increasing electricity costs. The most commonly used power sources are the national utility supplier via a grid connection, and on-site diesel generators. Previous research has identified the renewable sources of solar photovoltaic (PV), onshore wind, and geothermal energy in hybrid versions with current sources as possible opportunities to counteract rising electricity costs. To provide a clear understanding of the new, developing market of renewable energy sources, this research is divided into two papers. This first paper investigates the internal business structure of mining corporations in order to evaluate electricity generating sources. The multi-criteria decision analysis (MCDA) method is selected as the most suitable approach for this. The paper identifies the criteria used by mining corporations to evaluate possible electricity generation sources for self-generation by means of the corporations’ own investment. Four mining corporations with several mining locations were interviewed. The interviews revealed both new and identical evaluation criteria when the findings were compared to earlier MCDA adaptations analysed in the literature review. The second paper (Part 2) combines current knowledge about the external macroeconomic environment with the findings about the internal environment described here. MCDA is adapted in Part 2 and implemented to analyse and compare current to hybrid renewable sources from the perspective of mines.

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