Eskom bank het baie geld as hulle R1 biljoen aan Guptas se een myn betaal het vir steenkool wat hul nooit ontvang het nie. Asof dit nie genoeg is nie, is Optimum ook R705 miljoen geskenk vir kontrak aangegaan. Terwyl kragverbruikers meestal reeds betaal het met voorafbetaalde meters, is daar ander onwettiges wat nooit betaal nie. Dus is inkomste reeds verkry en moet hul in tou staan vir elektrisiteit se beurtkrag. Nog myne wat geen rehabilitasie doen nie, maar vet bankrekenings oorsee het waarin minerale ingepomp word.
750 000 000 R
December 2018 , Eskom implemented stage 1 load shedding after supply at its coal power stations dwindled to only 10 days’ worth. The plants are supplied by mines owned by Tegeta Exploration and Resources, in turn, owned by the Guptas’ Oakbay Investments.
The utility normally keeps about a month supply for emergencies. Eskom has maintained payments to Oakbay, despite its liquidity problems, charging that it was contractually obliged to do so. Eskom spokesperson Khulu Phasiwe said the utility paid R150 a ton to Optimum. Phasiwe said the contract with Tegeta was ongoing binding, even though Oakbay was under business rescue.
“They are under business rescue and the law says there is nothing you can do in terms of penalties until the matter has been resolved,” Phasiwe said. “From our side, we are only interested in getting coal and we are willing to buy from suppliers at a reasonable price.
“All we are saying from our side is that we don’t want to enter into an area of speculation. We just want to get as much coal as possible.”
Optimum mine has a capacity to produce more than 200 000 tons of coal each month.
However, its contract with Eskom has allowed it to double the number to 470 000 tons per month.
The Guptas bought the mine from global mining giant Glencore for R2.15bn through Tegeta in a deal that was orchestrated by Zwane just days after he was appointed by former President Jacob Zuma .
Eskom later extended a R659m prepayment to Tegeta to facilitate its supply operation to the utility.
Energy analyst Ted Blom described the ongoing prepayment as bizarre.
“Tegeta is exporting as much coal as possible to generate cash to keep alive – and even that situation is not running optimally,” Blom said.
Optimum workers are currently protesting at the mine to demand payment of their monthly salaries.
The National Treasury report on Eskom this month fingered Koko as the brain behind the prepayment that was endorsed by the Eskom Special Board Tender Committee.
The report said it was strange that the prepayment was made just days after the utility threatened Glencore with a hefty fine for allegedly supplying sub-standard coal to Eskom, something that Koko wanted waived for Tegeta.
It described the prepayment as preferential treatment.
“Eskom and Tegeta officials contravened section 34(1) of the Prevention and Combating of Corrupt Activities Act,” the report said.
“It is is, however, a question that still needs to be answered by the relevant Eskom executives as to why Eskom continued to use the coal and only levied the penalties afterwards.”
A cash-strapped Eskom is believed to be willing to more than double the rate it’s paying for coal, to rescue the Gutpas’ Optimum coal mine.
Optimum’s business rescue practitioner this week finalised a business rescue plan which affected parties will now have to vote on.
According to the plan, the best option is to make the mine profitable again and sell it off.
Discussions with Eskom’s attorneys indicate that the power utility is willing to pay up to R450 per ton of coal from the mine, more than double the R200 it is currently paying.
In addition, Optimum’s rescue practitioners want to reduce the mine’s supply to Eskom from 400 000 tons per month to 200 000. The difference would be exported at a much better rate.
The plan is therefore based on Eskom halving its claim to Optimum’s coal, while doubling the price it pays. The only way the company could continue is by increasing the price it charges Eskom to a level where it would lead to a net profit.
Eskom spokesperson Khulu Phasiwe told City Press’ sister publication Rapport that they had not yet seen the rescue plan. The utility is, however, in talks with the business rescue practitioners, but it is too early to say whether they would agree to the amended contract.
Eskom is between the devil and the deep blue sea.
This week, with winter just around the corner, the power utility had to inform the National Energy Regulator of SA that coal stocks at seven of its power stations had dropped below the minimum level of 20 days’ supply.
Koornfontein and Optimum, two of South Africa’s most important coal mines, supply 7.9 million tons of coal to Eskom per year.
At the same time, Eskom has been experiencing liquidity problems and has had difficulty paying for coal and salaries. To this end, it has been trying to borrow around R20 billion for some time. The Optimum mine delivers coal to the 2 000 megawatt Hendrina power station. Koornfontein delivers to the 1 000MW Komati power station. They are the sole suppliers.
Phasiwe said emergency plans were being put in place to divert coal from other mines to these two power stations. He said Eskom decided to get coal for Hendrina from other coal mines that have healthy stocks.
He did not say if Eskom could afford the suggested price increase, only that they were discussing the issue with the business rescue people.
He said Eskom had budgeted for the purchase of the needed annual coal volumes – within the limits of its corporate plan.
The price of Optimum’s coal is not a new source of controversy. According to a 40-year contract, Optimum is obligated to deliver 400 000 tons of coal at R200 per ton until the end of December, when the contract expires.
Eskom already pays R430 per ton for coal from Koornfontein, which is also under business rescue.
Optimum’s previous owners, Glencore, said the old Eskom contract was slowly choking them and, along with the penalties Eskom was imposing, the mine was on the verge of bankruptcy. This paved the way for the Gupta firm Tegeta Exploration and Resources to buy the mine.
The irony is that Eskom’s dealings with Tegeta have led to the crisis at Optimum. Another potential hurdle for the business rescue plan is the involvement of Vitol, the world’s largest independent oil dealer. Optimum is planning to sell the 200 000 tons it wants to take away from Eskom to Vitol at a much higher price. The business rescue plan contains details of the deal between Optimum and Vitol.
One of the conditions of this agreement is that Optimum must deliver proof to Vitol that the contract with Eskom is being amended so that Optimum only has to deliver 200 000 tons to Eskom. A strike at the mine because wages were not paid has, however, meant that Optimum could not deliver its quota to Eskom. It has since imposed a R800 million penalty on Optimum. But the business rescue plan relies on the fact that the penalties would only be claimed at the end of the business rescue process, when the mine is sold to a new owner. Phasiwe said the penalties, as well as other possible future fines, would definitely be claimed.
Unrehabilitated discard dumps from opencast coal mining at Optimum Coal Mine, with Hendrina Power Plant in the distance. All unrehabilitated dumps that stretch for kilometres in the massive mining complex that is #Optimum outside Mpumalanga.
DEVASTATION: Aerial photography by
@daylinpaul for CER and @LifeAfterCoal shows rows and rows of unrehabilitated discard dumps that stretch for kilometres in the massive mining complex that is #Optimum outside Mpumalanga. Thanks to @thebateleurs for the wings to obtain images. pic.twitter.com/NVHFKxpxLK
Optimum Coal Mine is a multi-product mine with a contract to supply Hendrina Power Station with coal until 2018. The mine also exports a significant quantity of coal. Optimum lies in the upper reaches of the Middelburg Dam Catchment. The dam has a maximum water holding capacity of 48 Mm3. It receives run-off from the Klein Olifants catchment with a total drainage area of 1 550 km2. Run-off from this catchment is in the order of 5.5% of the average annual rainfall, coming to a total of some 60 Mm3/a. The mean annual rainfall for Optimum Coal Mine based on a 80-year rainfall record is 687 mm, while the annual potential evaporation for the area is estimated at roughly 1 700 mm.
The mine lease area for Optimum Coal Mine is 383 km2. The average annual run-off prior to mining from the mine lease area was 14.7 Mm3/a, which constitutes about 25% of the natural catchment run-off. The mine clearly plays a dominant role in modifying the natural hydrology and run-off to Middelburg Dam. To date, the mine has disturbed roughly 6 870 ha of land and plans to disturb an additional 3 136 ha over the remaining life of the mine. Furthermore, the mine has mined 1 532 ha via underground board and pillar mining and plans to mine an additional 2 687 ha via board and pillar mining. Figure 1 depicts the mine’s locality within the Klein Olifants River Catchment, as well as the layout of the relevant mining areas.
The opencast and underground mining activities have a significant impact on surface and groundwater resources. To ensure that the mine will be able to continue with its mining operation in the catchment, the extent of this impact requires that substantial intervention measures are implemented to ensure the environmental integrity and economic use of the catchment’s water resources.
Optimum Coal Mine commenced mining activities during the 1970s as an underground bord and pillar mine in the Pullenshope area. During 1971 the mine initiated an opencast strip mine, with mining activities commencing in the Optimus mining area. At that stage, very little legislation existed that could guide the opencast mining activities towards environmentally responsible mining. Strip mining activities started within the Woestalleen East Spruit and proceeded in an easterly and westerly direction. No stream diversion was legally required at that time to mine through a stream. In addition to this, the stripping of topsoil prior to mining an area was also not required, which implied that the rehabilitation of the opencast mining areas received little attention.