Eskom rubbishes claims it is bailing out Gupta-linked Optimum mine

Eskom is not bailing out Gupta-linked Optimum Coal Mine, which is in business rescue, the power utility said in a statement issued on Monday.

The state power utility was responding to a report by City Press on Sunday. According to the report, the proposed business rescue plan for Optimum would see Eskom pay twice as much for half the coal it can get from the mine.

However, Eskom has said it is in discussions with the mine’s business rescue practitioners and no agreement has been reached.

"We wish to state categorically that to date Eskom has not agreed to any price adjustment with the business rescue practitioners and the allegations made in the City Press article yesterday are factually incorrect and without basis,” Eskom said.

According to the coal supply agreement, Optimum coal mine has to supply 400 000 tonnes of coal to Hendrina power station per month, at a price of R201.6 per tonne.

“Eskom has had discussions with the business rescue practitioners with a view to ensuring that they continue to perform, in terms of the coal supply agreement, and coal supply to the power station is resuscitated without further delays,” the statement read.

Eskom said it is considering a proposal by the business rescue practitioners to reduce the monthly coal supply by half, that is to 200 000 tonnes. But the power utility asserted it would not be swayed on the price.

“Should Eskom decide to accept any reduction of the coal supply tonnage, as proposed by the business rescue practitioners, such will be done at the current coal supply contract price.”

Last week Eskom issued a statement indicating that seven of its power stations’ coal stockpile levels stood at 20 days, below the required target.

The power utility claims that problems with Tegeta being in business rescue have added to its coal supply woes, Bloomberg reported.

Willy Majola, acting group executive of transmission also previously told Parliament's portfolio committee on public enterprises that the coal supply issues are made worse by the fact that Tegeta is in business rescue

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