This just in:
S.A. SHUT THE SMELTERS
Join the demonstration outside the ICC next to the workshop on thursday 1st Dec 08h30-09h30
Eskom, SA’s state-owned electricity provider gives the largest metals and mining companies the world’s cheapest electricity yet demands annual 25% increases from ordinary South Africans.
BHP Billiton pays 10c per kwh for electricity (half the cost of production) while residents of Durban presently pay R1,07 per kwh with prices still expected to rise.
It simply doesn’t make sense. The bauxite (raw materials) is imported and the final product is mostly exported. The profits go to corporations headquartered in London, Melbourne, Luxembourg and Zurich.
New coal-fired power plants are being built financed by the World Bank and huge tariff increases for the poor.
The smelters all have fewer than 1000 workers. We need to shut down the smelters within a just transition. S.A. must provide alternative well-paid green jobs such as construction of thermal-solar geysers for every house where workers who are employed at the smelters can be re-employed.
Shut the smelters. These contracts were made during the apartheid era, giving the world’s cheapest electricity to large foreign corporates under ‘special price agreements’. Poor people burn coal and paraffin for heating and cooking because electricity is unaffordable.
Coal mining is polluting our water, our soils, and our air and causing climate breakdown. The smelters use 11% of our electricity while residential usage is 16%. We won’t need new power stations if we just shut the smelters. We can transition to renewable energy. This is the optimal development path for S.A. given our vast capacities of sunlight, wind and tidal power.