21 September 2016 at 2:14 pm
The Centre for Environmental Rights welcomes Futuregrowth Asset Management’s announcement on Tuesday that it was suspending funding to the coal industry until it has “developed environmentally sustainable methods of operating”. Futuregrowth is the largest specialist fixed-income money manager in South Africa.
It is very encouraging to see such a significant player in South Africa’s financial industry showing leadership of this kind, prioritising long-term prosperity and the well-being of society in its investment decisions.
In our Zero Hour report published in May, the CER and our partners described the devastating and long-term impacts that coal mining has on communities and the environment in the Mpumalanga Highveld, in particular, with these impacts exacerbated by poor governance by mining and water authorities.
Notwithstanding these impacts on human health and the environment, the Minister of Energy has determined to procure 2500MW of coal-fired electricity from independent power producers, and another 3750MW from cross-border projects. In addition, Eskom intends to renew, rather than decommission its fleet of ageing coal-fired power stations, many of which cannot comply, and are unlikely ever to comply, with air pollution standards.
From 2005 to 2010, the number of prospecting and mining applications for coal in Mpumalanga increased by more than 300%. By 2014, over 60% of the province’s surface was under prospecting and mining right applications. The majority of these applications were for coal.
About the Centre for Environmental Rights:
The Centre for Environmental Rights (CER) is a non-profit organisation of activist lawyers who help communities and civil society organisations in South Africa realise our Constitutional right to a healthy environment by advocating and litigating for environmental justice. More about the CER at http://cer.org.za/, or visit us on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/CentreEnvironmentalRights/ and like us on Twitter @CentreEnvRights.