Eskom mum about crack in silo

Johannesburg -Eskom on Thursday declined to comment on what it called rumours of a crack in one of the remaining coal storage silos at its Majuba power station in Mpumalanga.

"The two remaining coal silos were emptied after the incident and prepared for a thorough examination," spokesperson Andrew Etzinger said.

"Once that examination has been concluded we will announce the results."

Inspections were being conducted at all of Eskom's silos around the country, he said.

Etzinger said none of the silos at the Majuba station were being used and temporary measures were still in place.

This followed a claim by trade union Solidarity that a silo had a two-metre-long crack.

"Solidarity today warned against Eskom’s continued denial regarding the actual state of its coal storage silos," spokesperson Deon Reyneke said in a statement.

"This follows after information has recently been brought to Solidarity’s attention that the Majuba power station's silo 30 has a visible two-metre-long crack just over a month after the collapse of its silo 20."

The silo's collapse affected coal supplies to all six units at the power station, which had a total capacity of 3 600MW, or about 10% of the country's power needs.

At the time Eskom warned of possible rolling blackouts because of the collapse.

Solidarity accused Eskom of ignoring the union's information.

"Two days after the silo collapsed, Solidarity issued a statement claiming that Eskom had been aware of abnormal vibrations in the silo for months," Reyneke said.

"Eskom has since repeatedly denied any such knowledge."

Etzinger said Eskom urged Solidarity to keep sending it information.

"Eskom has an open door policy and we are aware of Solidarity's statements in the past regarding information it made available to Eskom about the silos. We continue to ask for the information they have provided in the past," he said.

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