Snapshots

South Africa's Mining Sector Goes Dark Amid the Latest Blackout

Dec 10, 2019 | 22:04 GMT

Officials at South Africa’s unstable power utility giant, Eskom, announced Dec. 9 that extraordinary measures were needed to prevent the country’s electrical grid from collapsing amid plant breakdowns and extreme weather conditions. The company opted to increase its level of load shedding, a maneuver that takes demand strain off the grid, to 6,000 megawatts, amounting to its biggest-ever forced power cut. Eskom authorities also asked companies in the country’s mining sector to reduce power consumption by 20 percent, stalling multiple operations across the country. The unprecedented cuts follow six days of a lower level of forced power cuts, underscoring the severity of South Africa's ongoing electricity crisis. However, Eskom's demand that mining companies cut power consumption is particularly notable, given the sector’s importance to the economy. Fixing Eskom's perennial ineffectiveness, however, will require a massive overhaul of its infrastructure and power plants that would likely take years to complete. Until then, the country's continued...

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