New South African coal mine in development

Private investment company Menar and its subsidiary Canyon Coal are making inroads for the development of a new coal operation in Hendrina, Mpumalanga province – a mine that could commence operations as soon as the second half of this year.

The companies said they are investing R1.4 billion (US$78.3 million) in Gugulethu Colliery in the Nkangala District Municipality, and will employ 430 people.

It will be developed in phases; the first phase of Gugulethu is on track to be completed in 8-10 months and is expected to produce 1.2 million tonnes per year of 5,500-kc NAR coal.

“We are in the development phase and have already done the tenders for the civils and the processing plant. Our mining equipment has started to arrive,” said colliery GM Jarmi Steyn.

The soon-to-be-active operation was formerly known as De Wittekrans. The greenfield project was bought by Canyon out of business rescue. Phase 1 of the project holds an economically mineable reserve of 14.3 million tons of run-of-mine (ROM) coal. There are three pits, one of which specifically designed to gain access to the underground reserve as part of Phase 2.

Officials said the fully licensed project has a life of mine of over two decades, presuming ROM production of 2.4 Mt/y from the opencast section.

“The underground sections, which will commence operations in 2028 after the completion of the open cast reserve, will sustain production of 2.4 million tons a year,” Canyon officials confirmed.

Plant commissioning is set for late this year. Additionally, the transfer of the plant from the depleted Hakhano mine, Canyon’s first opencast colliery, for re-assembly at Gugulethu has begun.

Once mined, Gugulethu’s product will be trucked about 43 kilometres to the Rietkuil siding for transportation to the Richards Bay Coal Terminal in KwaZulu-Natal.

“All of Canyon Coal’s export allocation at the terminal is in use but the capacity for Gugulethu’s tonnages will free up when the company’s 1.4 million ton[ne]-a-year Phalanndwa Colliery in Delmas is closed later this year when it reaches the end of its life. Canyon exports some of its products through Grindrod’s Terminal de Carvao da Matola (TCM) port in Maputo,” the miner said.

Source: Canyon Coal

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