De Beers to Reopen S.A. Mines

De Beers said it will resume production at most of its six diamond mines in South Africa Tuesday. De Beers Consolidated Mines suspended its operations in the country Jan. 25 because of a nationwide power shortage.

David Noko, DBCM managing director, said Tuesday that the announcement follows an agreement between Eskom, the state-run power company, and the Chamber of Mines of South Africa to restore power supplies to 80 percent of total requirements, increasing to 90 percent of supply by the end of business on Thursday.

DBCM said it will immediately resume production at its underground Finsch Mine; Kimberley Mines, including the operations of smaller scale contractors (both mines are in the Northern Cape); and at The Oaks and Venetia Mine in the Limpopo Province. It will make a decision on opening two remaining mines, following the increase in power supplies to 90 percent.
 
Noko said he regarded the joint approach adopted by the mining houses and the Chamber of Mines together with the National Union of Mineworkers, Eskom, and government as important in finding a speedy solution to restore supply after the four day shut down.

He also said he found it “encouraging” that De Beers had already succeeded in lowering its energy consumption by at least three percent in 2007 from the levels consumed in 2006. Two percent of the company’s global energy consumption came from renewable resources however the fact remained that mining was dependent on traditional power resources for the bulk of its activities.