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UPDATE 1-S.Africa mining companies cut production due to power shortages

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JOHANNESBURG, Dec 10 (Reuters) - South African mining companies Harmony Gold, Impala Platinum, and Sibanye-Stillwater have been forced to cut production since Monday due to power shortages, they said on Tuesday.

“There are very few underground mines that operated overnight and will be operating normally today,” said a spokesman for the Minerals Council, an industry body.

Harmony Gold called off its underground shifts, saying it would resume as soon as state power company Eskom could provide assurance power supply would be more reliable.

Impala Platinum has shut production at its Rustenberg and Marula mines owing to power cuts that have left it functioning at 20%-30% of normal power, a spokesman said on Tuesday.

The platinum miner was using electricity only for essential maintenance, he added, saying: “We certainly can’t risk any attempt at production with this level of power.”

Sibanye-Stillwater shut all its deep-level mines on Monday, a spokesman said, but aimed to send miners back underground for the afternoon shift on Tuesday. (Reporting by Helen Reid Editing by Tim Cocks)