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Mines await increased power allocation

More power for
South Africa’s mines
Johannesburg, South Africa — MININGREVIEW.COM — 10 March, 2008 – Representatives of the South African Government, state-owned power utility Eskom and the country’s Chamber of Mines are scheduled to meet this week to sort out how the additional power to be provided for the South African mining industry will be allocated.

The Department of Mineral and Energy Affairs (DME) distributed formal notification on Friday that – following representations by the Chamber of Mines and consultation with all stakeholders – the mining industry had been allocated an additional 260 MW of power. This will effectively allow mines to increase their power consumption from the current level of 90% of average historical consumption to about 95%.

“This new allocation will be phased in over the next two weeks,” the DME notification stated, “and is aimed at minimising the disruptive impact of power rationing on the mining industry, job losses and mine safety.”

There are no details regarding allocation of the additional power at this early stage, but the general expectation is that it will not be allocated equally. Priority is likely to be given the mines that have been worst affected by the power crisis. In the first industry reaction to the DME announcement of increased power supply, Gold Fields head of South African operations Terence Goodlace welcomed the latest developments.

“The additional power supply to our mines will help to limit job losses and will have a positive impact, not only on our company and its employees, but on the broader economy,” he said. “We will work closely with Eskom and our peers in the industry to use this additional allocation of electricity to the greatest benefit of all stakeholders, and to ensure that safety is prioritised,” he added.

“As soon as the specific additional allocation for each of our mines is confirmed,” Goodlace concluded, “we will review our mine plans and production profiles, with a view to increasing production near to levels prior to those before the reduction in power supply.”