Eskom threatens to switch off miners


JOHANNESBURG — South African state-owned power firm Eskom warned it may cut power in the country’s gold mining province of Free State due to non-payment of accounts held by several municipalities.
Eskom asked the various municipalities to pay their dues by July 20 or else it would disconnect their power.
The world’s fifth biggest gold producer, Harmony Gold Mining Co. has three quarters of its mines in the province, but said it receives power directly from Eskom and was unlikely to be affected if power supply to municipalities was cut.
“All our power comes directly from Eskom, we have our mines located far from the municipalities and we are unlikely to be affected by any power disconnections to municipalities,” Graham Briggs, Harmony’s chief executive officer told Reuters.
Gold Fields, the world’s No. 4 gold miner, runs the Beatrix mine in the province, but this is also located further away from the municipalities likely to be affected.
Eskom asked electricity consumers in the province to make alternative arrangements should a settlement not be reached between itself and the municipalities, adding the decision to terminate supply was a last resort.
“Unfortunately discussions between Eskom and the municipalities about the overdue payments did not yield the desired outcome,” the company said in a statement.
Eskom swung to a full-year profit from a record loss last year due to rising demand and tariffs, with profit in the year to end-March at 3,6 billion rand versus a loss of 9,7 billion rand a year ago. – Reuters