Johannesburg, South Africa — MININGREVIEW.COM — 10 June 2008 – South Africa will maintain power supply to some mines at 95% of their normal requirements, says the country’s Minerals and Energy Minister Buyelwa Sonjica.
“We will maintain the status quo until we are guaranteed there is enough supply," Sonjica told Reuters on the sidelines of an energy summit here.
South Africa is in the grip of power crisis that forced mines countrywide to shut for five days in January, resulting in a sharp drop in mining output in the first quarter of the year. Since then, some mines have received up to 95% of their power needs, while others have received 90%.
Mining production dropped 22% in the first quarter, denting GDP growth, which fell to a six-and-a-half-year low of 2.1% in the period.
South Africa’s power grid is expected to remain vulnerable during the coming peak demand in the southern hemisphere winter months.
Deputy President Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka pointed out that the power crisis posed a threat to economic growth and the government’s efforts to battle unemployment, poverty and other social ills. She told the energy summit here that investors were concerned that key sectors of the economy, such as mining, could be buffeted by further turmoil if Eskom failed to increase power supply.