Johannesburg, South Africa — MININGREVIEW.COM — 31 January, 2008 – Most of the major gold, platinum, diamond and other mines in South Africa are in the process of ramping up production in the hope that – in the event of no change in the electricity supply situation – their output would be back to normal by the end of next week.
This follows the undertaking by Eskom on Tuesday to increase its supply to the mines to 80% by last night, and to 90% by the end of today. The state-owned power utility also undertook to give the country’s mining industry at least four hours’ warning prior to any future interruption in supply.
The country’s three top gold producers – AngloGold Ashanti, Gold Fields and Harmony – are all moving towards full production.
An AngloGold Ashanti announcement confirms that it has commenced the process of bringing back into production all of its underground mines and their associated gold treatment plants, and re-iterated the hope that all mines will be back in full production by the end of next week.
“It is not possible at this time to estimate the operating and financial consequences of the current events.,” the announcement added. “Further details will be provided when the company presents its results for the fourth quarter on 7 February 2008.”
Gold Fields Limited emphasised that the restoration of power would be phased in, “in a carefully controlled manner with consideration for health and safety matters, and in close consultation with Eskom to ensure the safe and sustainable resumption and build-up of production.”
A Harmony Gold release today says the majority of the company’s mines are working based on the strategy plan devised for this eventually. “We have a varying staff complement on our mines with no production workers on some mines, 60% on other mines, and the rest at full complement,” it explained.
“The higher grade mines with 100% complement include Elandsrand, Randfontein, Tshepong, Evander and the some of the Virginia operations,” the statement added. “Those at 60% complement are Target, Masimong, and Phakisa, and the rest of the mines are focusing on project work or care and maintenance.”
Impala Platinum has confirmed that it hopes to reach normal levels of production by next week. “We are also in the process of optimising our operations against our power allocation to achieve an overall 10% reduction as requested by Eskom,” a spokesman added.
De Beers Consolidated Mining managing director David Noko has confirmed that the company is resuming production immediately at fourt of its six mines.