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.
By Emma Featherstone for The Guardian
If you go down to the beach today, you may get a surprise: a smooth pebble painted with a colourful picture (cartoon characters and animals are common) or uplifting message.
Pebble painting, or “rocking”, is a craze that seems to have begun in the US with Megan Murphy’s The Kindness Rocks Project. She came up with the idea after collecting heart-shaped stones and pieces of sea-smoothed glass from the beach, seeing them as “rare treasures or signs and messages” from her deceased parents. “Finding them made me happy and I wanted to provide others with a similar experience.”
Now, a thriving international community of amateur artists decorates rocks before hiding them in public places.
The UK-based Facebook group Love on the Rocks has amassed more than 64,000 members since Vicki Poledoles Stansfield, from Essex, started it a year ago. “I suffer with anxiety and I was looking for a quiet hobby with no skills, that was free, and that I could do at 2am when my mind is racing,” she says.
Jacky Burns, who lives in Morecambe, is another enthusiast. She has some tips for first-timers: “Decorate a pebble using acrylic paint or permanent pens, then seal it against the weather (using clear nail polish or varnish) and write the name [of a dedicated Facebook group] on the back. Hide it in a safe place and wait for someone to find it and post on your group, then watch its journey.”
Some rocks have crossed continents, like the one found by Ian Hines in a south London park, which he later left in Morocco. Others spread a message.
Nikki Lunn, from Stockport, has planned a tribute for the victims of the Manchester Arena attack. With council permission, she is encouraging people to leave rocks painted with the symbolic worker bee and the hashtag #lovemcr in certain city spots on 22 May.
What is it about the movement that has captured people’s imagination? “People are looking to connect with one another,” says Murphy.