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The Coal Mining sector, including Coal Testing Laboratories
During 2016 the South African coal mining sector produced 251.0 million tonnes (Mt) of coal and exported 76.4Mt of coal worth US$3.8bn. Coal mining contributed R67bn or 1.8% to the country’s GDP at current prices in 2015, while more than 77,000 people were employed by the sector.
Environmental Concerns and Continued Investment
In February 2017 Eskom was ordered to conclude long-outstanding power purchase agreements with renewable-energy independent power producers (IPPs). This is forecast to result in the mothballing of five power stations and a reduction of 55.8Mt in the amount of coal being used for electricity generation by 2022. Despite these and other steps being taken in response to environmental concerns, investment in the sector has continued. Indian company Atha-Africa Ventures is planning to develop a 2.25Mt per annum thermal coal mine, called Ysermyn, at Mabola in Mpumalanga while the Thabametsi project will develop the R2.8bn Thabametsi mine to supply 3.9Mt of coal per annum for 30 years to the nearby power station. Merger & Acquisition activity has also been brisk and included the sale of Anglo American’s Eskom-tied thermal coal mines to Seriti Resources Holdings which was announced in April 2017. Through this transaction, which is expected to be completed by the end of 2017, Seriti Resources will become the second-largest supplier of coal to Eskom.
The report on the Coal Mining sector examines current conditions, developments and investment in the sector and provides import and export data. Also discussed are policy and regulatory uncertainty, the inadequate capacity of the export railway line, and rapidly rising input costs. Profiles for 26 coal mining companies are provided, including Glencore which placed Optimum Coal Holdings, subsequently acquired by Tegeta Exploration and Resources into business rescue in August 2015. Also profiled are 26 coal testing laboratories including SMMEs such as Gauteng-based Mitra SK South Africa (Pty) Ltd and Chem-Science Laboratories (Pty) Ltd in KwaZulu-Natal.