Underground mining at Harmony Gold Mining Company and Petra Diamonds’ operations in South Africa has resumed after the unprecedented move by Eskom to implement Stage 6 load shedding on 9 December.

With intermittent Stage 2 and Stage 4 load shedding continuing across South Africa, Gold miner Harmony Gold and diamond miner Petra Diamonds has resumed normal operations at its local mines, but the request by Eskom to continue with load curtailment and future power restrictions may still have an effect on the operations going forward.

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Since the downgrade of the load shedding status by Eskom from Stage 6 to Stage 4, the Petra Diamonds’ mining operations in South Africa, which include the Cullinan, Finsch and Koffiefontein mines, recommenced on Wednesday at a 20% load curtailment, in line with requirements and by Thursday 12 December Eskom had lifted the load curtailment restrictions and Petra Diamonds’ mining operations are now operating at normal load levels.  

Petra Diamonds says that it is used to managing the operations optimally to maintain production levels as much as possible throughout load shedding requests.

Such measures include the bringing forward of essential maintenance work and restricting load curtailment to processing plants where possible, given the company’s operations have excess processing capacity which allows for additional throughput when full power is restored.

However, the impact of the current load curtailment on the company will depend on the duration and level of severity of the power restriction.

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Meanwhile, Harmony Gold Mining Company has also resumed normal shifts at its nine South African underground mines from the 11 December afternoon shift, following Eskom’s announcement on Tuesday to return to Level 4 load shedding.

The 9 December night shift and 10 December day shift at all of Harmony’s underground mines were cancelled in response to an urgent request from Eskom for power usage to be reduced immediately to levels required only for the maintenance of essential services.