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Eskom grants South African mines additional power

Eskom has allowed Gold Fields South Africa (Ltd) to use an additional 26 megawatts of electricity at its Kloof and Driefontein gold mines, a move which will help save jobs at the mines.

The increase in the total available power on the Gold Fields gold mines has gone up to 95% of the historical average consumption profile.

Terence Goodlace, Head of Operations said “Granting additional power to our mines will go a long way in helping saving jobs at the Driefontein and Kloof gold mines because Gold Fields can now re-plan and re-consider the future of Shafts Number Six and Seven in Driefontein as well as Numbers Three and Eight Shafts at Kloof.”

He said production at these shafts had either been downscaled or had stopped due to the onset of the power constraints in January.

Earlier this year government requested large businesses to reduce electricity consumption by 10%, as part of the National Electricity Management Plan because Eskom was battling to meet consumer demand.

Goodlace said, however, there had been no additional supply of power to either Beatrix or South Deep gold mines.

“We believed that these operations can function at the current levels of electricity supply owing to the shallower depth at which Beatrix operates and the nature of the restructuring operations underway at South Deep,” added Goodlace.

He pointed out that the additional power allocation will not prevent the forecast production losses of more than 20% in the current quarter.

“We thank all stakeholders who have recognized the strategic importance of the gold mining industry will continue to use the power allocated to us strategically and sparingly.”

“Gold Fields will also continue, with the rest of South Africa, to seek ways to conserve power, while maximizing that which has been allocated to us to the widest benefit possible,” said Goodlace.

On Monday, Eskom resumed emergency load shedding as it could not meet the demand for electricity which had increased due to current cold weather conditions.

“We appeal to all electricity consumers to contribute to save electricity and reduce demand by 10%,” Eskom's Chief Officer Networks and Customer Care Erica Johnson earlier said.

Eskom reported that while load shedding would occur twice a day, in Johannesburg it was expected at least four times a day.

She said Eskom was currently using gas turbines to minimize load shedding while power rationing was expected to continue for the rest of the day (Monday) until after evening peak.

She, however, said they were revising these schedules and that timetable can be viewed from Eskom's website from this week. The schedules will only be implemented on 31 March.

Before the cold weather set in, the power utility had reported that it would resume pre-emptive load shedding on March 31 should it not get 10% savings across all sectors of the society. (allafrica)