Zimbabwe has started power cuts across the country that will last up to eight hours a move that is expected to negatively affect the mining industry which accounts for more than three-quarters of Zimbabwe’s export earnings.
Zimbabwe Electricity Transmission and Distribution Company (ZETDC) said in a statement that the move follows reduced output at both the largest hydropower plant and ageing coal-fired generators in the country.
“The power shortfall is being managed through load shedding in order to balance the power supply available and the demand,” the utility said.
In the past, some of the big mines, including platinum and gold producers, have resorted to directly importing electricity from neighbouring countries like Mozambique and South Africa.
Zimbabwe last experienced its worst power shortages in 2016 following a devastating drought.
The southern African nation, which is producing 969 MW daily against peak demand of 2,100 MW, is entering its peak winter power demand season, which will increase electricity consumption.
Minister of Energy and Power Development Joram Gumbo was quoted by a local newspaper saying he would travel to Mozambique this week to try to agree an electricity supply deal with that country’s power utility Hydro Cahora Bassa.