General News

South32 secures power for Hillside

Note the comment from Mark:

I believe SA should no longer be running this smelter. We don't even mine bauxite (aluminium ore) here. Instead we ship it in, melt it using our dirty coal power, and ship it out again, with very little benefaction. (But with profits going to the foreign multinational owners)
And for years, the smelters have scored BELOW COST electricity. So I believe they actually owe us money.
I believe Hillside uses about 1200MW – and is the biggest single electricity user.
If they closed down, would we still suffer so much loadshedding?
Furthermore, I'm led to believe, that in the initial negotiations for some of those smelter's long term power agreements several years ago, the two Eskom negotiators were awarded top jobs with the companies involved, as soon as negotiations were complete. This needs to be investigated fully, before any further deals are struck!
Finally – where's the transparency? Considering all the shenanigans that I believe have happened in the past, particularly with the scoring of below-cost power, surely the terms of this new power deal, signed with our publicly-owned power corporation, need to be shared with the public?

We deserve to know what they are paying! “
I think this is something that EGSA could take up – push for transparency on the contract terms and somehow get Hillside to be accountable for  the resulting Scope 1 and Scope 2 (electricity related emissions).

South32 secures power for Hillside

An aerial view of South32's Hillside aluminium operation in South Africa

23RD JULY 2021




PERTH ( – Diversified miner South32 has finalised an energy supply agreement for its Hillside aluminium smelter, in South Africa.

The miner on Friday said that the National Energy Regulator of South Africa had approved the long-term energy supply agreement between Hillside and national energy provider Eskom, securing the smelter’s energy supply until 2031 under a rand-based tariff with a rate of escalation linked to the South Africa Producer Price Index.


South32 CEO Graham Kerr said that the new agreement further extended the long-term working relationship with Eskom.

“Hillside has been a major Eskom customer for 25 years and this agreement provides power cost certainty for a further ten years, with Eskom receiving a price aligned to long-term tariff policy. Eskom also retains the current flexibility to interrupt supply to the smelter to support management of the national electricity grid and minimise load-shedding.”


Kerr said that the aluminium smelter remained an important contributor to South Africa’s economy, both directly through local employment and through its integration with significant downstream industries that rely on output from Hillside.

“As the world transitions to a low carbon future, we will work with the government, Eskom and other potential partners to explore options to secure a green energy solution for Hillside,” Kerr added.

With the new tariff agreed, the smelter remains competitive on the global cost curve, with operating costs for 2021 expected to reflect the higher power charges from the new agreement incurred since August 2020. 

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