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In 2015, South Africa will run out of coal

by , 02 October 2013

Power outages affected large parts of Johannesburg at the beginning of September. This was down to sabotage by City Power workers. But it looks like it could be a major issue across South Africa by 2015. An industry study says that come 2015, Eskom faces a massive shortfall of coal to fuel its power stations. Let's take a closer look at what's going on…

We all know what it’s like to experience power cuts when Eskom’s power network gets overloaded. But, if Eskom doesn’t do something about coal supplies shortly, this could become a reality over the long-term.

A study has revealed that SA “needs to invest as much as R90 billion in new coal mines,” reports IOL. This is necessary to keep Eskom’s coal hungry power plants with a supply of this commodity.

With this lack of investment, coal prices are going to increase with sheer demand.

Over the next few years, “coal prices will jump up from their current levels at around R250 per tonne to at least R412.50 per tonne,” warns Head Resource Economist of the Resource and Scarcity Report, Y’ael Shirley. That a whopping “increase of 65%”.

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How is Eskom going to fill a 60 million ton coal shortfall?

The study shows that SA will have a massive shortfall of 60 million tons of coal come 2015, says Mining Weekly Online. That is the “required coal volumes for the country’s developing power stations”.

Eskom took part in the study by Green House with industry big boys Anglo American, Sasol, Exxaro and BHP Billiton, notes Bloomberg. The “departments of mineral resources and energy” also took part. The study aimed to highlight problems to “avoid a repeat of power shortages” that caused economic devastation in 2008.

And if Eskom don’t do something about the massive coal shortfall, power shortages will be common place. “They’re going to become longer, more frequent and wider-spread than anything you’ve seen so far,” adds Ms Shirley.

Two thousand and fifteen isn’t far away. Time will tell if Eskom can secure supplies to fuel its power stations to keep electricity supplies safe.




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