Affected companies Anglo Coal, Glencore, Exxaro Coal, Kangra, Delmas Coal and Msobo are talking through the chamber with the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) to resolve the impasse. These operations are spread across the Highveld region, home to most of South Africa’s coal fields. Prolonged strikes are not uncommon in South Africa — up to almost half a year in the case of the platinum industry a couple of years back.

Eskom, the country’s energy utility, said in a statement on Friday, October 9, that it has enough reserves to last about a month.

“Some of our power stations have more than 30 days of worth of coal supply,” Eskom spokesman Khulu Phasiwe told Eyewitness News. “We are generally okay as a company and hopefully the strike will be resolved very soon.”