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Lamu coal power plant
Finance and Policy  
6 November 2017

Environmental justice: battle with coal IPP continues

South African independent coal power producer, KiPower – a subsidiary of Kuyasa Mining – is opposing the review of the environmental authorisation for a proposed coal-fired power station.

This marks a month since the duo withdrew their opposition to the initial review – instituted by environmental justice organisation groundWork – indicating that they would be applying afresh for an environmental authorisation for the project.

Environmental justice: recent proceedings

In August 2017, groundwork represented by the Centre for Environmental Rights (CER), instituted court proceedings to set aside the environmental approval given by the Department of Environmental Affairs to Kuyasa Mining (Pty) Ltd on behalf of KiPower (Pty) Ltd, citing the authoritative court judgement by the Pretoria High Court in the Thabametsi coal power plant case in March 2017.

In September 2017, KiPower and Kuyasa withdrew their opposition to the review of the environmental authorisation, indicating that they would be applying afresh for an environmental authorisation for the project, CER explained in a statement.

However, on 18 October 2017, KiPower and Kuyasa gave notice that they now again intend to oppose groundWork’s court challenge. Read more...

Environmental justice: greenhouse gas emissions

According to CER, the proposed technology that KiPower wants to use in the coal power plant would result in "unacceptably high greenhouse gas emissions" – as Thabametsi’s climate change impact assessment has shown.

CER added that these significant climate impacts cannot be substantially mitigated.

In March 2016, Mining Review Africa reported that the proposed Thabametsi coal-fired power station project would have to undergo a climate change impact assessment before it can move into development – the first time that the Minister has required a climate impact assessment for an environmental approval for a coal-fired power station. Read more..

Proposed coal-fired plant

Kuyasa Mining, operator of the Delmas coalmine, intends to develop the proposed 600MW KiPower Station in close proximity to the mine.

According to the IPP, the first phase of the plant will “consist of four 150MW circulating fluidized bed (CFB) units and associated infrastructure to provide uninterrupted power via the existing Eskom grid to clients.”

However, KiPower’s proposed site location is in the Mpumalanga Highveld – declared an air quality priority area a decade ago because of the poor air quality, Mining Review Africa reported in an earlier report.

Adding that "the Highveld is home to 12 existing Eskom coal-fired power stations, which together with numerous other polluting mines and industry in the area, result in significant air pollution and non-compliance with health-based  ambient air quality standards."

 

Featured image: Stock 

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