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'Mining sector requires reliable, affordable electricity'

Sibanye Gold says it’s important Eskom’s plan of action for supplying electricity is made clear to businesses.

FILE. Big business and mining officials have continued presenting their arguments at public hearings in Midrand into Eskom's application for a 16.6 percent tariff hike. Picture: Freeimages.com

JOHANNESBURG - Sibanye Gold says the mining sector requires reliable and affordable electricity and transparency when it comes to Eskom's plan for the future.

Big business and mining officials have continued presenting their arguments at public hearings in Midrand into Eskom's application for a 16.6 percent tariff hike.

Sibanye Gold's Peter Turner says it's important Eskom's plan of action for supplying electricity is made clear to businesses.

'The last thing an investor wants is surprises. We are seeing disinvestment. We're seeing economic turmoil. At the heart of that I think Eskom has a huge role to play."

Yesterday the Chamber of Mines warned if Eskom's application for a tariff hike is approved, it could result in 40,000 job losses.

The utility has argued it's spent billions of rand on buying diesel to operate open cycle gas turbines in order to avoid load shedding, which would have had a far greater impact on the economy.

Meanwhile, the Opposition to Urban Tolling Alliance (Outa) has argued that Eskom will try and recover more money from consumers if it continues buying diesel.

Outa's energy advisor and former Eskom employee Ted Blom says the utility will be looking to clawback more funds if it continues using diesel.

"Assuming that Eskom intends to claw back over expenditure open cycle gas turbines at R8 billion, and that's the current figure for the remaining for years, that means there's an extra clawback of R32 billion on the diesel account."

Blom has also criticised Eskom for its lack of maintenance on the power grid over the past five years.

Businesses have also raised concerns about the unreliability of supply and possible increases in the future, which make it difficult for investors to plan ahead.