Load-shedding continued to plague South Africa this month, and one of the reasons for Eskom’s electricity shortage is the damage caused to burners by poor-quality coal.
Cosatu General Secretary Bheki Ntshalintshali recently said rocks instead of coal were supplied to one of Eskom’s power stations, which caused damage to the burners.
This damage caused unplanned outages and electricity shortages which forced Eskom to implement load-shedding.
An Eskom engineer working at a power station confirmed that poor-quality coal which contains rocks caused serious damage to their equipment.
He added that in December, four of the six turbines at the power station he works at were seized up because of this problem.
“The piping that is supposed to transfer steam to the turbines from the boilers has ruptured due to the wrong grade of coal being used, that contains rocks that have exploded,” he said.
Rocks sold as coal
SABC News recently published photos of rocks which one of Eskom’s suppliers were trying to sell to the power utility as coal.
LontohCoal CEO Tshepo Kgadima told SABC News that the photos came from trucks which tried to deliver these rocks as coal to Eskom’s Hendrina Power Station in Mpumalanga.
“That is not coal. That is a lump of crushed rock which cannot be milled and cannot combust under any circumstances,” said Kgadima.
He said these trucks were thankfully turned away, but added that it highlights the challenges which exist at Eskom’s power stations.
“How is it possible that the power plant operators do not know the geological conditions of the mines where they are supposed to get their coal from?” he asked.
These rocks are shown below.