File photo: Bhekikhaya Mabaso/African News Agency (ANA).

RUSTENBURG - Mining company Petra Diamonds said it was in the process of halting its operations in South Africa following a request by state-owned power utility Eskom to reduce its electricity load.

In a statement, the company said it received a notice from Eskom on Monday, declaring a power system emergency and an unprecedented move to stage 6 load shedding, due to a technical fault at the Medupi power station which has led to a shortage of capacity.

It said Eskom had asked Petra to reduce usage to essential loads level, with the result that the company was "in the process of halting its mining operations in South Africa [Cullinan, Finsch and Koffiefontein]".

"Production, hoisting and processing have stopped with immediate effect and the company is now removing all people from underground, except those required for essential services, with only pumping to prevent flooding and ventilation for safety being allowed," Petra added.

African News Agency (ANA)