Coal exploration and mining company, Canyon Coal, has commenced mining operations at its Phalanndwa Colliery Extension Project following the first large-scale blasting of coal ore on 17 July 2019. The extension project is anticipated to extend the life of mine to 2027.
Growth-focused Canyon invested in the development of the extension project when the original resource was near depletion. The original mine was established in 2010 and mining operation began in 2013.
Phalanndwa is located 20 km outside of Delmas, Mpumalanga. It employs 310 people including contractors. The number of employees is likely to increase to 360 once production has peaked to required levels.
The project comprises one pit consisting of three coal seams namely: Two upper seam, which is approximately 0.7 m thick; two main seam, which is about 3.5 m to 4 m thick; and the two lower seam, which ranges from 1.5 m to 5.2 m in thickness. At its steady production phase, the mine will produce an average of 120 000 tonnes per month.
All coal produced is planned to be washed according to RB3 specification. The mine will produce run-of-mine coal with an average calorific value of about 22.5 MJ/kg, an ash content of about 19%, volatiles of about 24%, inherent moisture of about 5%, a total moisture of about 9% and a sulphur content of about 1.2%
Phalanndwa General Manager Allan Mabbett, who is overseeing the development of the extension project, says everything has gone according to plan.
“The mining development team has done very well. Steady state production is expected to occur within the next three months. Once in steady state production, the project will produce on average between 110 000 tonnes and 125 000 tonnes a month,” states Mabbett.
The construction phase of the project is well underway with the excavation of the colliery’s pollution control dam currently taking place. Additional project infrastructure that will be established on site over the next three months include: the construction of drainage systems, berms and other associated site infrastructure along with the construction of an access road to the mine.
“We are ahead of schedule on the project as first coal was initially only anticipated for the end of July. Canyon Mining Services (CMS) has already pulled back two weeks on the schedule and development activities are running smoothly, which we hope will continue throughout the course of the extension project,” Mabbett concludes.
Vuslat Bayoglu, executive chairman of Canyon Coal, says the company is one of a few investing in development of new coal mines. “Despite the negativity about coal, we will continue to invest in the resource. It’s our comparative advantage as a country. We must mine it, use it to generate energy, create jobs and generate much-needed export earnings,” he says.