Copper foundry near Phalaborwa mine, Limporo province, Republic of South Africa
A deposit of flying ash near Secunda, Mpumalaga Province, Republic of South Africa
These enormous reservations are built on flying ashes which are the result of coal liquefaction operations carried out by South African oil company Sasol and its industrial plants nearby.
It is the biggest and probably the only synthetic fuel factory in the world.
It uses the Fischer-Tropsch process to convert not only bad quality coal but also natural gas, into liquid hydrocarbons.
The factory alone covers a surface are of 13 square kilometres and its existence is mainly due to the international embargo against South.
Although the production of synthetic fuel is minimal, the technology used to make it is attracting attention once again as petrol prices soar.
From an environmental point of view, the production of a litre of liquid fuel from coal emits twice as much greenhouse gases as an equivalent fuel from an oil refinery.
Oil refinery near Secunda, Mpumalanga province, Republic of South Africa
Center-Pivot irrigation near Delmas, Mpumalaga province, Republic of South Africa
Outdoor coal mine near Delmas, South Africa
Coal remains the source of energy worldwide.
Despite using coal for 94% of its electricity production, South Africa's electricity demands are still not adequately accounted for and the country plans to open more coal-fired power plants in the years to come.
In 2005, 33% of energy used in the world came from coal.
Despite the closure of several coal mines in Europe during the past decades (as a result of low returns which did not meet the investment cost) coal mines still exist in many other places with cheaper labour costs.
With increasing energy demands, coal mining is expected to continue until at least the mid-twenty-first century, as coal resources are abundant and easily exploited.
Nevertheless, coal-fired energy poses a problem because it causes huge pollution, particularly in terms of CO2 emission, which is a greenhouse gas.
It also blights the landscape.
In order to reduce global warming and to respond to the objectives of the Kyoto Protocol, it's necessary that we reduce, or discontinue the use of coal.
Burned eucalyptus plantation near Sabie, Mpumalanga province, Republic of South Africa
Seals on a rock near Duiker Island, Cape Province, Republic of South Africa
Cape fur seals are gregarious.
They gather by hundreds in coastal colonies, chieﬂy to mate and give birth. Happier in the water than on land, these semiaquatic mammals spend most of their time swimming in coastal waters seeking food: ﬁsh, squid, and crustaceans.
The species found at the Cape of Good Hope lives only on the coasts of southern Africa, from Cape Cross (Namibia) to Algoa Bay (South Africa), and numbers about 850,000 individuals.
Seals belong to the pinniped family, which includes fourteen species of otarid seals (sea lions and eared seals), nineteen species of phocid seals (true seals), and one species of walrus.
Pinnipeds live in most seas and total about 50 million individuals, of which 90 % are phocid seals.
Cormorants and Cape fur seals at Seal Island, False Bay, Cape Province, Republic of South Africa
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