LEPHALALE — Various Limpopo media houses attended a Media Briefing Day at Medupi Power Station on Wednesday 30 May.
The site tour included a visit to the coal stock pile and it was explained that 2,24 million tons of coal has been stored for Medupi to produce electricity.
There are currently also seasonal and strategic stockpiles that could assist in case the conveyor belt fails or if there is a strike at Exxaro, the supplier.
Senior Construction Manager Barry Janse van Rensburg said that Medupi can run with the current coal stock for up to 55 days if a situation like the above arises.
From there the delegation went to the construction site of Unit one, the last unit to be completed, and Janse van Rensburg explained that more than 50% of the unit is already completed.
Medupi Project Director Phillip Dukashe addressed the media once the site tour was concluded and he said there had been great development and progress in the project, but they are approaching a phase where Medupi will reduce the number of employees at the project.
When questioned as to why the project exceeded its initial target for completion by 2015 with a less than R100 billion budget, Dukashe said Medupi is being built in reverse order, though the initial plan was to build it from Unit 1. He said the reason behind this was rock formation and conglomeration.
According to Dukashe, the team should have invested more time in development, cost and schedule confidence before they started with construction.
Other challenges that contributed to the delay included quality issues on the boilers and labour unrest that resulted in a two-year delay.
Dukashe said the impact of the project will affect the growth of the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) by 0,35% annually.
“The project will cost R145 billion by completion, with R77 billion spent locally. It will increase the GDP of Lephalale by about 95%.
At the peak of construction there were 18 000 working and building the Power Station and 2 000 indirect jobs like security and catering. Currently there are 13 501 people working at Medupi, excluding the Eskom team that is managing the construction of the project. 52,9% of the 13 501 are people from the Waterberg District, 2,8% from other parts of Limpopo, 2,9% non-South Africans and 14,4% from the rest of South Africa.
“In terms of socio-economic development initiatives R4,1 billion was spent in Lephalale on things like the Medupi Leadership Initiative (MLI), roads, education, health facilities, agriculture and housing.
Meanwhile the project has seen the first power produced from Unit 3 on 8 April 2018.
The unit was loaded and kept stable at 200MW, making it the fourth unit to be synchronised to the national grid.
Unit 6, 5 and 4 are currently part of the national grid producing electricity. The construction of Unit 3 is 97% completed, but the commissioning and optimization still needs to be done.
Unit 2 is 77% completed and Unit 1 is 70% completed.
The total capacity of Medupi is 4 800 MW.
The project is expected to be completed by 2020 at a cost of R145 billion.
With completion of the project, only 600-800 employees will be employed at Medupi.