Johannesburg, South Africa — ESI-AFRICA.COM — 27 July 2011 – South African national power utility Eskom Holdings has been able to function during the coal-sector strike because it has 38-day stockpiles at power stations around the country, according to a company spokesman.
“If the strike lasts only a week or so it is unlikely to affect us, but if it is protracted it could put a strain on our contingency plans,” said Eskom spokesman Tony Stott.
“What we are concerned about is that, once the strike is over, we need the coal workers to produce coal additional to the normal demand to recover those stockpiles, because we do not want to go into the rainy season with low stockpiles,” he added. “Some power stations might not function at full capacity if stocks are low and coal piles become wet in the rain.”
The National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) spokesman Lesiba Seshoka disputed claims of a 38-day stockpile, saying it could be far less. “The people on the ground are telling us they only have three weeks’ supply,” he claimed.
The Chamber of Mines “’ representing the various companies in the coal sector “’ is currently involved in talks with the NUM, Solidarity and the United Association of South Africa (UASA), but it is not clear when the next session will take place.