Mantashe: Coal mines to keep supplying Eskom during lockdown, but at reduced levels

Minister of Mineral Resources and Energy, Gwede Mantashe, says mines providing coal to Eskom will continue to function, albeit at reduced production levels, during the 21-day lockdown announced by President Cyril Ramaphosa.

For coal exports, each case will be on evaluated its merits. 

Mantashe was briefing the media on Wednesday on the efforts of his department to implement the lockdown measures announced by President Cyril Ramaphosa earlier in the week to arrest the spread of coronavirus.

In addition, some smelters and plants that are "hugely costly" or "technically dangerous" to restart will be supported with reduced production to keep them going over the three weeks.

Much of the rest of the mining sector will be put under care and maintenance to avoid damage to their continuous operations.  

Security services, water pumping, ventilation, maintenance, and refrigeration at mines will continue. Services that mines render to communities – such as the supply of water – will continue, he said.

The health services of mines will also remain in operation. Mantashe said the Minerals Council had offered that hostels be used for quarantine if necessary. 

Meanwhile, the country will import less petroleum products over the next three weeks due to an expected major decrease in demand.