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Upstream Petroleum Resources Development Bill on Track

March 11, 2021

Department of Mineral Resources and Energy

Consultations on the Draft Upstream Petroleum Resources Development Bill have been resuscitated.

The mineral resources and energy department’s director general, Advocate Thabo Mokoena, confirmed this during an address at the 22nd Annual African Mining Breakfast and 19th Investing in African Mining Seminar.

The director general added that consultations on the proposed legislation were “foiled by lockdown restrictions” and the department plans to ensure speedy finalisation of the draft bill.

He pointed out that finalization will “unlock our country’s untapped potential in the upstream oil and gas reserves”.

In terms of security of energy supply, key interventions targeted over the short term to close the electricity deficit include:

• Ensuring speedy implementation of renewable energy projects under bid window 4, of which over a 1000 MW has already come online.
• The procurement of 2000 MW of power under the Risk Mitigation Independent Power Producer Programme – preferred bidders to be announced before the end of March 2021.
• Procurement of additional power in line with the IRP 2019 of which request for proposal for 2600 MW of renewable energy (bid window 5) will be issued to the market during March 2021- to be followed by additional bid windows between August 2021 and March 2022 from renewable energy, storage, gas and coal.

The director general also highlighted that work is underway to achieve operational and financial stability at Eskom by, amongst others, “separating and unbundling the entity in line with the roadmap to ensure that South Africa responds to global and local energy challenges and opportunities”.

The speech also referred to the drafting of an Exploration Strategy to improve the quality of geoscience information available for a simplified investment decision to be finalised before the end of the second quarter of 2021.

Once drawn up, the department plans to consult with “other critical stakeholders beyond those represented in the drafting team and ultimately consult Cabinet and the President”.

In the realm of small-scale mining, the department is “focusing on the implementation of the Small-Scale Mining Framework to create the necessary policy and regulatory certainty required by the industry to unlock investment”.

The director general confirmed that the department continues to “promote the transformation of small-scale mining activities into commercially viable and sustainable projects capable of making a meaningful contribution to employment creation, poverty alleviation and increased economic activity to boost the capacity to create long-term jobs”.