Power cut in SA cost AngloGold 20,000 ounces

Gold miner AngloGold Ashanti (NYSE:AU), the world’s third-largest producer of the precious metal, warned Monday a power failure that cut electricity supply to some of its South African operations would reduce first-quarter production to about 20,000 ounces and increase costs.

State-owned power utility Eskom reported last week that a fire at a substation had resulted in supply being cut off to the Klerksdorp and Carletonville areas on Wednesday night. This meant all main power supply to AngloGold’s Tau Tona and Mponeng operations was interrupted between March 13 and 15.

While emergency procedures enabled the safe and prompt evacuation of all underground work areas, continued disruption of power to the mines, owing to the unplanned interruption of the main Eskom electricity supply, halted all but essential water pumping services on the two operations.

“There was insufficient power to run ventilation and cooling plants, hoisting infrastructure or metallurgical plants and other associated production activities,” AngloGold said in a press release.

Eskom is building the world’s third- and fourth- largest coal-fired power plants in an attempt to overcome an electricity shortage that stopped work at factories and mines for five days in 2008.