Cape Town, South Africa-South Africa's main gold and platinum mines stopped production on Friday as the government declared a national power emergency in the face of power outages, which caused chaos and threatened economic growth.
The South African government says the shortage of electricity on the country's border has spread to Botswana and Namibia, which are heavily dependent on South Africa's energy exports, which cannot be foreseen.
"Unprecedented unplanned power outages must now be seen as a national power emergency and urgent, robust and coordinated action must be taken to address them, Public Enterprise Minister Alec Owen told reporters after a cabinet meeting.
"We think the next two years will be crucial," he said, adding that government officials have unveiled a range of measures, including rationing, rising prices and a strong push to promote alternative energy.
On Friday, the crisis at mining companies, including AngloGold Ashanti Co. , Ltd. , reached a new height.
Harmony Gold Mining Co. , Ltd. Ltd.
And kintian Co. , Ltd.
Fearing that power cuts would trap workers underground, all emergency operations at some of the world's largest gold mines were suspended.
For one of South Africa's most important industries, the shutdown could cost hundreds of millions of dollars and undermine investor confidence that has been shaken. Gold Fields —
His South African business produces 7,000 ounces of gold a day.
Eskom, the national power company, warned that the break could last four weeks.
Eskom requires the mine to reduce power consumption by 60% per month.
As gold hit a record high this month, there was a cut in gold prices.
The Union Solidarity Union has released the Black Friday scorecard for the worst-hit industry ".
Gold, platinum and coal mines topped the list.
BHP Billiton's manganese mine has been closed and electricity supply to three aluminum smelters has stopped, the company said.
Samancor Chrome, the world's second-largest iron and chromium producer, plans to close its factory.
Ferrochrome is used in the production of stainless steel, most of which are produced in South Africa.
Successive power outages in South Africa have begun to arrive without warning.
This week, nearly 40 people were trapped in a cable car, trapped for two hours in a windy wind at Table Mountain, a tourist resort overlooking Cape Town.
Some people climbed out of the roof and fled to the loading dock more than 2,000 feet from the ground.
Hundreds of people were trapped at the top of the mountain. "The knock-
"The impact on Cape Town is immeasurable," said Simon greender, a member of the town council . ".
"Today's headlines are going out of business tomorrow.
The South African Tourism Services Association says the crisis is endangering the World Cup soccer tournament to be held in South Africa in 2010.
Owen said measures taken over the next two years will help ease supply pressure before the World Cup.
"There is no threat to the success of the event," he said . ".
The South African government and Eskom said that South Africa's economy has grown by more than its energy supply and that the country must cut its energy consumption by 10% to 15%.
For the first time, the government acknowledged the neglect of the 1998 Eskom report, warning of a serious energy crisis in 10 years.
In 2004, the government approved a new power station construction plan.
The government will not freeze planned electricity, Owen said.
As Eskom suggested, devouring industrial projects is like a new large aluminum smelter.
Minister of Minerals and Energy bouyleva songjica said South Africa will invest more in developing renewable energy.
The government is also considering urgent measures to force South African coal mines to provide more and better coal to Eskom, rather than exporting it.
"If they don't give us coal, they don't get electricity," Owen said . ".
Minister Sonjica said the government is looking at countries like Brazil and Cuba that are forced to supply energy quantitatively.
Sonjica said South Africa is now considering quotas to impose fines on excess of allocated energy use.
Sonjica also said that the government hopes to install millions of solar water heaters in the next three years and is considering measures to force hotels, hospitals and other institutions to use solar energy.
The traffic lights will soon also depend on solar energy.
Cape Town has pioneered a successful experiment to help minimize traffic congestion.
Ups is now caused by a signal failure.
Erwin said electricity prices are expected to rise by 14% this year, and prices may continue to rise similarly in the foreseeable future.