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De Beers makes do with power shortage
Suspends mining operations at six mines
By: Diamond World News Service
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Jan 25 2008 12:00AM
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Reference: 1435  

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South Africa is facing severe national power shortage, which has threatened mining companies to nearly shut operations. Eskom, which supplies power to the country, has requested its clients including De Beers Consolidated Mines (DBCM) to reduce consumption. In its way, DBCM has suspended operations at its six mines - Venetia, Finsch, Kimberley, Cullinan, The Oaks and Namaqualand. It is operating now on ‘survival load’, which is the use of sufficient power to avoid risk to employees and property, and to maintain safe underground working conditions at those mines for when power is fully restored for normal work to commence. DBCM is functioning on ‘survival load’ with two underground operations - Finsch and Cullinan Diamond Mine.

De Beers, as a member of the Chamber of Mines, is in discussion with Eskom and the Government about the anticipated length of the power cut. It said that the company has initially been advised to prepare for contingencies for a power cut that may last for some time and are awaiting further information from Eskom. In the interim, activities not dependent on electricity, such as plant maintenance, will continue, as will some surface mining and hauling operations.

The managing director of DBCM, David Noko, commented that the company was working with the Chamber of Mines, Eskom, and Government to find constructive and effective solutions to this serious national challenge. He said, “I would like to emphasise that, for some time, De Beers has been successfully implementing initiatives to reduce power consumption on its mines. Over the past year, the demand on Eskom by De Beers has already been reduced to 681 GWhrs in 2007 from 707 GWhrs in 2006”. Earlier this week, DBCM also signed the Energy Efficiency Accord issued by the Department of Minerals and Energy.

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