Shut furnaces help Eskom ease shortages

2012-02-17 10:11

Johannesburg - A joint venture between ferrochrome producer Merafe Resources and London-listed Xstrata will shut five of its furnaces until the end of May to help power utility Eskom manage a tight electricity supply.

The companies said 100 000 tonnes of production would be lost as a result of the agreement, but there would be no impact on supplies to customers in the second quarter.
Eskom would buy back the energy that would have been used by the furnaces, they added. The companies said the furnaces will undergo maintenance during the shutdown and there would be no job losses.
They said the Rustenburg smelter’s energy efficiency is expected to improve when a new sintering and pelletising plant, currently under construction, becomes operational in the second half of this year.

South Africa has been struggling to meet demand for power as new power plants meant to plug the shortfall have been delayed. Supply will remain vulnerable until the first units of Eskom’s new stations become operational next year.

The national grid nearly collapsed four years ago, forcing mines and smelters to shut for days and costing the economy billions of rands in lost output.

  • Ig - 2012-02-17 11:15

    Shows you, its not the normal huose hold using power, so, why do we have to put up with outages. Mines (industry) make enough profits, they should build their own power plants!!

  • Jo - 2012-02-17 11:17

    It is time that SA goes nuclear for electricity generation. We have such mineral wealth we must beneficiate in SA. The wealth generated is for all SA people.Sell the coal to China and India for a good price.

  • Shistirrer - 2012-02-17 11:51

    The BHP Billiton aluminium smelters use about 10% of the total consumption in SA, and they get the electricity for next to nothing, compliments of unbelievably stupid contracts signed years ago. Even the Mozal smelter in Mozambique gets the cheap power, and Eksdom has to import expensive power from the Cahora Bassa scheme. Stupid, stupid, stupid!!! To add insult to injury, Eksdom has to buy it's coal from the same BHP Billiton at market prices. Stupid, stupid, stupid!!! To top it all, BHP Billiton is an Australian company, so all their profits leave South Africa. If our government had any balls, they would have cancelled the contracts long ago on the grounds of national energy security.

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