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Journal of Energy in Southern Africa

On-line version ISSN 2413-3051
Print version ISSN 1021-447X

J. energy South. Afr. vol.23 n.4 Cape Town  2012


The external costs of coal mining: The case of collieries supplying Kusile power station



Nonophile P Nkambule; James N Blignaut

Department of Economics, University of Pretoria




The aim of this paper was to quantify the external costs of mining and transporting coal to the Kusile coal-fired power station in eMalahleni. Monetary values were estimated for a number of impacts including its contribution to climate change, human health effects of classic air pollutants, mortality and morbidity, impacts of water pollution and water consumption. The results of the study disclosed that coal mining and transportation will inflict costs to both the environment and humans of between R6 538 million and R12 690 million per annum, or between 20.24 c/kWh and 39.3 c/kWh sent out. The external effect of water consumption (opportunity costs of water) constitutes over 90% of the total cost, followed by global warming damage costs and ecosystem services lost due to coal mining. The estimated externality cost is approximately between 50% and 100% of the current average electricity price.

Keywords: external costs, coal mining, coal transportation



Full text available only in PDF format.




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Received: 30 November 2011
Revised 10 October 2012

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