Home » Glencore Funds The Construction of North West Power Facilities.

Glencore Funds The Construction of North West Power Facilities.

by Adenike Adeodun

In a noteworthy endeavor towards community upliftment, commodity trading titan Glencore Ferroalloys has delivered a brand-new substation to a South African municipality situated in the North West Province.

Constructed in collaboration with the Western Chrome mine located near Rustenburg, the 33/11kV Modderfontein Substation aims to curb persistent power outages plaguing the local areas of Ikemeleng and Kroondal. Aging infrastructure was the primary culprit, causing frequent power disruptions and maintenance issues that impacted residents and businesses.

Crafted by the experts at KPT Consulting Engineers, the new substation isn’t just a boon for the mine—it promises brighter days and steady power for the community of Kroondal.

The larger context of South Africa’s energy sector is pertinent here. Eskom, the country’s main electric utility, has pinpointed a need for significant capacity enhancements to the national grid by 2032. This ambitious vision envisions the addition of new transformers and substations. Simultaneously, the approach to power generation is evolving, with mining entities considering self-reliant power infrastructures and municipalities grappling with obsolete systems and dwindling finances.

Specifically, the Rustenburg Local Municipality has been combating continuous power outages in areas such as the R24 Region, Rietfontein, Donkerhoek, and Zuurplaat. ESI Africa reported that the existing power lines, having served for over three decades, are long overdue for an overhaul.

Rampoo Phiri, the MMC of Infrastructure for the Rustenburg Local Municipality, lauded the substation’s inauguration. He said, “We deeply appreciate Glencore Ferroalloys for spearheading this Social and Labour Plan (SLP) project. It’s a transformative step for our community, and we’re eager to embark on more such collaborative ventures with Glencore to uplift our residents’ lives.”

But there’s more to this infrastructure venture than just electricity. The project also illuminated employment avenues in the construction and logistics sectors, enhancing the skill set of the local workforce. 

Lawrence Mashilane, Western Chrome Mine’s Engineering Manager, viewed this as an opportunity to make a lasting community impact. He stated, “Our partnership with the Rustenburg Local Municipality enabled us to offer jobs and engage local SMMEs during the substation’s construction. This embodies our commitment to collective progress, ensuring benefits endure even beyond our mine’s operational life.”

The revitalized infrastructure promises a cascade of advantages for the community: heightened energy efficiency, a dip in emissions, and a reliable power supply. Areas such as Modderfontein, Renosterfontein, Wigwam, Kroondal, and Dinnie Estate can now look forward to a brighter, more electrifying future.

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