THE latest round of load-shedding imposed by Eskom, the government-owned power utility, would stymie new investment in the country’s mining sector just as demand for new supplies of minerals are required.
Citing independent mining economist and analyst, Ross Harvey, Bloomberg News said Eskom would single-handedly deter new projects.
“The world will still need the minerals and metals that South Africa has, but in the short term this is potentially damaging to investment prospects,” said Harvey.
“For as long as Eskom remains in its current state, we are not going to see the kind of investment that we need.”
“It was drastic, it makes life very difficult,” Johan Theron, a spokesman for Impala Platinum told Bloomberg News of the load-shedding. “We can’t operate like this but if we don’t cut the power, the national grid collapses.”
The Minerals Council of South Africa complied with a request by Eskom asking its members – responsible for 90% of the country’s mineral production – to cut power usage for all but essential services. Petra Diamonds announced it had not sent underground shifts down on December 9, as well as Harmony Gold and Implats. Anglo American Platinum (Amplats) said it had curtailed the operations of its processing units.
“South Africa urgently needs to stabilise Eskom,” said Jana Marais, a spokeswoman for Amplats. “Frequent load curtailments pose a risk to our operations as they risk the safety of our people and can lead to loss of production and revenue.”