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Anglo American plans to unlock hydrogen’s potential through its FutureSmart Mining programme. Picture: ANGLO AMERICAN ARCHIVES
Anglo American plans to unlock hydrogen’s potential through its FutureSmart Mining programme. Picture: ANGLO AMERICAN ARCHIVES

In a society rallying towards net-zero carbon emissions, metals and mining companies must adapt to provide the feedstocks — and in the cleanest way possible. Hydrogen, a clean, versatile energy carrier of almost infinite supply, is vital to this transition.

Anglo American believes in the transformative power of hydrogen as a fuel of the future. In line with its operational carbon-neutrality goals, it intends to use hydrogen as the main fuel source for its mine haul-truck fleet.

Haul trucks represent up to 80% of diesel emissions at the company's operations. However, the sheer scale of these trucks and the fact that they work 24/7 mean they are not suitable for battery electrification.

The solution? Project NuGen, Anglo American's end-to-end integrated green hydrogen production, fuelling and haulage system, developed in co-operation with external partners as part of its FutureSmart Mining programme.

As a pilot of this ambitious project, the company will unveil a hydrogen/battery hybrid haul truck at its Mogalakwena mine in Limpopo —the first time a truck of this size and load capacity has been converted to run on hydrogen. The gas will also, in the near future, be produced on-site using renewable power. 

Empowering SA's hydrogen economy

The hydrogen complexes for Anglo American's haul trucks have the potential to serve as local and regional hubs for an emerging hydrogen economy in SA and beyond. These hubs could act as a catalyst for the industrial use of hydrogen, which has applications across multiple industries. 

As Anglo American is one of the world’s leading producers and suppliers of platinum group metals, which are needed to produce “green” hydrogen, it is embracing the opportunity to support SA's economic growth. It is already collaborating with the SA government and various partners to transform the bushveld complex and larger region around Johannesburg, Mogalakwena and Durban into a “Hydrogen Valley”.

'Mining in a time of transition' webinar

Business Day, in association with Anglo American, hosted an insightful online panel discussion exploring the power of hydrogen and what it means for SA on February 3.

The panel, moderated by financial journalist Alishia Seckam, included:

  • Natascha Viljoen: CEO of Anglo American Platinum and deputy chair of the Energy Council of SA;
  • Fahmida Smith: market development principal at Anglo American Platinum; and
  • Jonathan Debasc, MD: thermal, supply and hydrogen, Africa, at Engie.

Watch a recording of the event:

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