WATCH | Coal conveyor belt that feeds Eskom power station catches fire

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A conveyor belt which moves some coal from the Kriel mine to the adjacent Eskom power station caught fire on Monday.

Seriti Resources, the owner of the mine in Mpumalanga and one of the largest suppliers of coal to Eskom, confirmed that an overland conveyor belt at its Kriel mine caught fire earlier in the day when a veld fire on a neighbouring farm crossed over the firebreak onto the Seriti property, fanned by excessive winds.

Seriti and Eskom firefighting teams were dispatched, and the fire was brought under control. "Seriti is working with Eskom to ensure that there is no disruption to coal supply to the Kriel power station," the company said in a written statement.

News of the fire comes as South Africa's energy supply crisis has worsened. Depleted emergency reserves, as well as plant breakdowns and trips, saw stage 6 load shedding implemented on Sunday.

The affected conveyor belt contributes less than 15% of the coal volumes that the mine supplies to the Kriel power station, Seriti said.

Eskom said the Kriel fire "will have no impact on the power station as it is receiving coal from an open pit and by road".

Seriti said an investigation is currently under way to assess the damage and the cause of the fire and committed to keep all stakeholders informed of the developments.

Load shedding will be reduced to stage 5 at midnight on Monday.

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