The South African Coal Roadmap



The South African Coal Roadmap was a national initiative supported by the South African Government, the coal industry and related stakeholders (including Anglo Thermal Coal, BHP Billiton, Chamber of Mines, Coaltech, Eskom, Exxaro, Optimum Coal, SANEDI, Sasol, Shanduka, and Transnet). The initiative was coordinated and administered by the Fossil Fuel Foundation of Africa.

Problem Statement:

Stakeholders in the South African coal industry identified the need to detail and assess options and scenarios for the future development of the entire coal value chain with the aim of maximising the economic opportunities for coal as an energy and chemical resource, while maximising positive social impacts and minimising negative environmental impacts..

The Green House approach:

The Green House was the technical project manager to the SACRM initiative. The project commenced with a research study to document the status quo of all of the stages in the value chain with respect to technologies employed, flows of coal and other inputs, sustainability, logistics and other considerations. This was followed by a comprehensive scenario modelling exercise which projected the performance of the value chain and electricity supply sector to 2040 in response to local and international climate change drivers. A comprehensive electricity supply model was built as part of the exercise which explored the role of renewable and non renewable technologies in the future electricity supply mix, and the impact of cost trajectories/learning rates on their potential contributions.

Modelling outputs included not only GHG emissions, but other environmental, social and economic indicators to explore the trade-offs in moving to a low carbon future vs. remaining reliant on coal.

The scenario development process was supported by an extensive stakeholder engagement process conducted by The Green House. The engagement process served to both gather data inputs and to obtain buy-in and reach consensus on possible futures for the sector.


The key outcomes from the project were:

  1. Overview of the South African Coal Value Chain: A detailed baseline document that describes all aspects of the current status of the coal value chain.
  2. Outlook for the coal value chain: Scenarios to 2040. A high-level scenario document describes a range of possible futures for the industry.
  3. Outlook for the coal value chain: Scenarios to 2040 – Technical Report: A detailed description of the models and assumptions used in the study.
  4. The South African Coal Roadmap: This document explores the short, medium and long-term activities and interventions needed to support the coal industry to maximise its contribution to South Africa.

Together these documents have been used by the industry to help support decision-making and policy setting. The process was also successful in bringing together the South African coal industry to discuss its key challenges and opportunities relating to logistics, infrastructure, exports, governance, climate change, environment, social impacts and water.

The Project outputs are available at