Harare, Zimbabwe — ESI-AFRICA.COM — 12 September 2011 – A handful of diamond mining companies affected by ongoing crippling power cuts in Zimbabwe have been forced to set up their own dedicated US$36 million power line, according to a local newspaper.
Reporting this decision, the Sunday Mail said the five companies with operations in Chiadzwa diamond fields, in the east of the country, would have to raise at least 60% of the total cost of installing the line.
According to the report, the erratic power supplies meant that miners’ efforts to realise their full potential were being stifled.
The city of Mutare, about 100km from Chiadzwa, would be the source electricity. Mutare and its surrounding areas are badly hit by power cuts, which occur three or four days a week and often last for up to 16 hours.
Zimbabwe’s cash-strapped state power utility is owed more than US$100 million by consumers. Earlier this month, it caused an uproar by raising tariffs by an average of more than 30%.
If the mining companies pay for the power line, they will be charged only half the going tariff, said the Sunday Mail.