Friday, March 31, 2006

Can't run mines without electricity

Harare - Zimbabwe's mining sector has taken another knock from erratic electricity cuts that have hit the country as its cash-strapped state power agency struggles with imports, a senior official said on Thursday.

Zimbabwe buys more than a third of its electricity from South Africa, Mozambique, Zambia and the Democratic Republic of Congo but has in recent years grappled to pay its bills due to severe foreign currency shortages.

The Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority (ZESA) has also been hard-pressed to repair power generation machinery, while vandalism of its equipment and inadequate coal supplies to its main thermal power station have contributed to frequent power cuts that have disrupted industry........

The sector has also been rattled by government plans to amend Zimbabwe's mine laws to cede a 51-percent stake in all foreign-owned mines to the state, a move seen driving away foreign investment key to the industry's growth.

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