Johannesburg, South Africa — MININGREVIEW.COM — 05 September 2005 – South Africa’s total gold production increased by 9% to 56 933 kilograms in the second quarter of 2008, compared to the previous quarter. On a year-on-year basis, however, gold production was down by 10.4% in the second quarter, illustrating the continued impact that the electricity supply curtailment has had on the sector.
In a media release issued here the South African Chamber of Mines said the key reason for the year-on-year decline in gold production had been the national electricity emergency that had effectively closed the gold mining industry from 25 to 31 January 2008, and which had then curtailed electricity supply to the gold mining sector to 90% of normal usage.
The curtailment of electricity supply to 90% proved to be exceptionally challenging for the industry in March, the Chamber statement added, and approval of extra electricity supply, above the 90% level, had then been granted to some mines on a case-by-case basis. There had been no blanket increase in electricity supply to 95%.
“Since the start of the electricity emergency in January 2008, Eskom’s large 138 industrial customers have borne the brunt of the electricity savings in the economy, to the extent that the electricity supply curtailment to these users has effectively bailed the country out of a potentially serious situation,” said the Chamber.
“The mining industry is seriously concerned about the fact that very few other sectors have achieved much savings, and the burden still remains on mining and other large industrial customers,” it said. “Given the substantial export earnings and employment intensity of mining, it is clear that this situation cannot continue indefinitely. Other users of electricity (government, parastatals, financial services, tourism, households, etc.) have to do more.”
Production for gold mining members of the Chamber increased by 7.7% to 47 329.8 kilograms in the second quarter of 2008 when compared to the first quarter, according to the Chamber statement. But on a year-on-year basis Chamber member production fell by 12.9% in the second quarter of 2008, as the large increase in the use of surface low-grade dumps increased the dilution rate through the mills, with the result that the average grade recovered plunged by 14.3% in that quarter.