South Africa’s miners decry power crisis crippling business


Players in South Africa’s mining sector have called upon the government to fix the power crisis being experienced in the country subsequently devastating business operations in the country.

According to Reuters, the Mineral Council South Africa took the decision on Monday to settle the nation’s power crisis, which saw record-high power cuts crippling business operations, including OR Tambo Airport operating in darkness after transformer shutdown.

The state-owned utility Eskom which supplies 95 per cent of the nation’s power was forced to implement power cuts across the country in 2019.

The Mineral Council South Africa was noted by Reuters that, the insecurity in power supplies plus rapidly increasing costs were at the forefront of the constraints on the economy and mining industry.

Also, the body commented on government intervention towards facilitation of additional power that could be brought on stream to bridge the gap

“The government and Eskom should be contracting in, at the least cost possible, any extra renewable energy from existing wind and solar plants that are sitting idle,” The council commented in a statement ahead of a meeting with President Cyril Ramaphosa.

Last month, mines across South Africa shut down after flash flooding triggered the most severe power blackouts in more than a decade, threatening a key export sector for the country.

“Eskom requires urgent reforms and restructuring to materially improve maintenance, improve plant reliability and to get costs under control,” the Minerals Council said

According to the body, the mining industry contributed to about $24 billion to the South African economy in 2018, equating to about 7 per cent of gross domestic product (GDP).

Executives of the power utility have blamed a lack of critical mid-life maintenance under previous management and analysts say the government needs to procure more generating capacity fast.

Also, Reuters reported that the industry is due to respond by the end of January and present options that could be connected to the grid within three to six months or six to 12 months, if they are selected in a procurement process, the document showed.

READ: South Africa to brace for more power cuts

Padili Mikomangwa is an environmentalist based in Tanzania. . He is passionate about helping communities be aware of critical issues cutting across, environmental economics and natural resources management. He holds a bachelors degree in Geography and Environmental Studies from University of Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.

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