Mineral Resources and Energy Minister said if the cost of electricity could be brought down, the government would have won half the economic battle. File Photo: IOL

CAPE TOWN - South Africa’s Mineral Resources and Energy Minister Gwede Mantashe on Thursday announced that the country’s Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) would be concluded within days.

Delivering a keynote address at the Africa Oil & Power event in Cape Town, Mantashe said: “By Wednesday, I am very hopeful that the IRP would be concluded, and we will gazette it.”

He added that “the plan will lay the foundation for investment in power generation and such an investment should have the impact of lowering the cost of doing business in our country”.

The fourth annual Africa Oil & Power (AOP) conference and exhibition, held at the Cape Town International Convention Centre (CTICC) from October 9 to 11 saw ministers, government officials and executives of private sector companies from across the continent, congregating to discuss the future of Africa’s energy industry.

Minister Mantashe highlighted the potential investment that could come as a result of a finalised IRP, which represents a key component of South Africa’s energy strategy. With this, he invited investors to enter the South African market. 

“Come to the fore, we are ready for you. Talk to us,” he said.

In line with the conference theme, #MakeEnergyWork, Mantashe also spoke on the importance of developing a thriving energy sector as a means to encouraging economic growth, noting that the sector is “part of an effort that is a catalyst to economic growth".

On the country’s energy future, he said that natural gas would be a key part of South Africa’s energy mix. He further explained that projects like the Coega development in the Eastern Cape province would be at the core of this strategy. 

“This ambitious project for us will be a game changer, those who are waking up to take the opportunity will actually benefit from that development. It is quite a test for us because we need to get into gas in a big way,” Mantashe said.

The multi billion rand Coega special economic zone project is located in Nelson Mandela bay and consists of 10 projects including a renewable energy components factory, a gas-to-power plant, a solar rooftop project and an oil refinery.

The gas to power project is expected to supply power from 2026.

- African News Agency (ANA), Editing by Emsie Ferreira