Tanzania to Ration Power for Miners
Source: Dow Jones, Nicholas Bariyo (3/16/11)
"Tanzania faces 230 MW power deficit due to lower water levels at hydro power stations."
Talks will explore the likely effects of reducing power supply to the gold mines, a Tanesco official told Dow Jones Newswires by telephone from Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania's commercial capital.
"The decision on whether to reduce power supply on the sector will be reached upon after the talks," the official said.
Last week, Tanzania's parliamentary panel on energy proposed that at least 50 megawatts of power, supplied to gold mines connected to the national grid, be slashed in order to avail power to other sectors that have faced a power crisis since December.
Some mines in the area aren't connected to the grid and rely on fuel-fired thermal plants.
Tanesco has been prioritizing power supply to mines because of their strategic importance to the country's economy. Gold is Tanzania's leading foreign revenue earner.
Tanzania is facing a 230 MW power deficit due to the lowering of water levels at the country's main hydro power stations after a long drought.
According to Emmanuel Jengo, executive secretary of the Tanzania Chamber of Minerals and Energy, slashing 50 MW from the sector could trigger the closure of some mines.
Tanzania is Africa's fourth largest gold producer, after Mali, Ghana and South Africa.