Rolling blackouts by power utility Eskom has had dreadful consequences for the economy and various industries including the mining industry. During his State of the Nation Address (SONA), President Cyril Ramaphosa outlined measures to sort out troubled power utility Eskom.One of the measures he outlined was previously mentioned by Gwede Mantashe, Minister for the Department of Minerals and Energy, during his opening address at Mining Indaba. “The National Energy Regulator will ensure that all applications by commercial and industrial users to produce electricity for own use above 1MW are processed within the prescribed 120 days,” Ramaphosa said. This means that mine companies could be possibly be producing their own power in the next four months. In his address, which was delayed by over an hour following disruptions from the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), Ramaphosa acknowledged that Eskom played a critical role in the economy and in the lives of South Africans. “The load shedding of the last few months has had a debilitating effect on our country. It has severely set back our efforts to rebuild the economy and to create jobs,” he said.
In a statement released the Minerals Council South Africa said that it welcomed Ramaphosa’s address. “Most critically, the Minerals Council is encouraged by the President’s commitment to rapidly and significantly increase generation capacity outside of Eskom. The sporadic availability of power and instability of the national grid is seen as one of the greatest threats to the South African economy. We welcome the President’s undertaking to implement measures that will fundamentally change the trajectory of energy generation in the country,” read the statement.The statement concluded by the Council giving credit to the president for addressing the challenges head on. “Our organisation, and the industry as a whole, is more than ready to continue working with him and other members of his government in ensuring their implementation,” the statement read.