A South African industry group,Energy Intensive User Group (EIUG) has told SA energy minister, Tina Joemat-Pettersson, that further power constraints would lead to significantly reduced mine output, according to minutes from the meeting seen by Reuters.
South Africa is in the middle of its worst power crisis since 2008, when rolling power outages cost the mining industry in the world’s top platinum producer billions of dollars in lost output.
The meeting took place on Tuesday, between the Minister and members of the industry body that includes major mining companies operating in South Africa such as AngloGold Ashanti. Last week Eskom implemented the first rolling blackouts of the year in some parts of the country, and warned that more are certain as demand threatens to outstrip its capacity to keep the lights on.
Minutes from Tuesday’s meeting obtained by Reuters show the minister indicated that she was exploring the idea of getting the private sector to reboot power plants mothballed in the past, such as those owned by local municipalities. On the subject of Eskom’s precarious financial situation, she was quoted as saying that the utility was “burning cash faster than it is making it” and that the company needed to rein in costs. The minister also said the high cost of diesel to run Eskom’s open cycle gas turbines was unsustainable.power cuts,
An Eskom spokesman said if Eskom was unable to buy diesel supplies, it would lose 5 percent of its capacity and blackouts would then occur on an almost daily basis until the end of March.