Mineral resources & energy minister Gwede Mantashe generated great excitement with his surprise declaration at the Mining Indaba that mining companies wanting to generate their own power just needed to register - no licence needed. Unfortunately, it wasn't quite true. And going into the state of the nation address (Sona), announcements like this raise questions about credibility and communications which President Cyril Ramaphosa might want to ponder.

Unless they plan to get entirely off the grid - which none of them do - mining companies still absolutely need a licence from the National Energy Regulator (Nersa) to generate more than 1MW of power. So does anyone else, and since most of the self-generation power projects that mines and other companies have on the drawing board are closer to 100MW than 1MW, that still means almost everyone.

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