Coal mining in South Africa

Coal mines in South Africa

South Africa produces over 250 million tons of coal every year. Over 90% of the coal consumed in Africa is produced in South Africa.

Predominantly used to generate electricity, coal is also used by the steel industry to extract iron from iron ore and in the production of cement.

The mining industry in South Africa has seen a doubling of its industry revenue in the past five years and, in 2022, the total revenue of South Africa's mining industry was 747-billion rand.

There are approximately 890 billion tons of coal around the world – enough to last approximately 110 years. Africa contributes just 6% of the world’s total coal deposits, relatively small compared to Russia (30%), North America (25%), and Asia/Australia (29%).

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The Importance of coal mining and the coal industry in South Africa

South Africa produces over 250 million tons of coal every year - roughly 4.9% of the global coal reserve. Almost 75% is used domestically, and nearly 80% of the energy needs of South Africa are taken care of by coal.

Coal mining in South Africa is mostly utilised to provide a steady supply to South Africa's national electricity provider, Eskom, supplying nearly three quarters of Eskom’s fuel supply.

The industry is also responsible for supplying the coal-to-liquids (CTL) industry, developed by the South African fuel company, SASOL, which produces around 35% of the country’s liquid fuel.

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Coal Mining South Africa

Coal mining in South Africa plays a significant role in the country’s economy. Over 90% of the coal consumed in Africa is produced in South Africa.

Coal mining in South Africa is centred on the Highveld, with roughly 60% of the coal deposits in South Africa located in eMalahleni (Witbank) and surrounding areas.

Two of the biggest coal projects in South Africa are surface mining operations at the Mafube Colliery and the New Largo Project.

The Mafube Colliery is currently the largest coal mining project in South Africa:

  • It produces 1.1 million tons of coal per year
  • It supplies the Arnot Power Station in Mpumalanga
  • It is worth ZAR 16 billion over its lifespan

The New Largo Project is the second largest coal operation:

  • It is geared to produce around 15 million tons of coal per year
  • They supply the Kusile Power Station, roughly 25 km from eMalahleni
  • It is valued at around ZAR 11 billion

If you're looking for coal africa or south africa coal, a subscription to AMIQ puts all the coal mining project information at your fingertips.



Top Coal Mining Companies

5 coal mining companies in South Africa are responsible for approximately 85% of all coal production: Anglo American PLC, Sasol Mining, Glencore Xstrata, Exxaro, and South32’s South Africa Energy Coal.

Africa Mining IQ lists Kumba Resources, BHP Billiton (Ingwe Collieries), Sasol Mining, Eyesizwe and Anglo American Thermal Coal as the key companies for coal mining in South Africa.

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Coal Mining Companies in South Africa

Over 80% of South Africa's saleable coal is produced by five prominent coal mining companies, namely:

Of these major coal mining companies, BHP Billiton is one of Eskom’s biggest suppliers, and one of the largest suppliers to the seaborne energy coal market. Anglo American's coal business owns and operates 9 mines and is currently working on several projects aimed at boosting output to 90 million tons per annum. Of the top 5 South Africa coal mining companies, Xstrata Coal is South Africa's third largest coal exporter.

Formerly part of Kumba Resources and now merged with Eyesizwe Coal and Namakwa Sands, Exxaro is among the most diversified coal mining companies. It currently has several Greenfield and expansion projects under way that will supply between 13 and 15 million tons of coal per year for export, and a proposed 1 200 MW coal-fired power station, near Lephalale in Limpopo. Sasol Mining, which uses the majority of its coal in Sasol's Secunda-based coal-to-liquids synthetic fuels plant, rounds out the top five major coal mining companies.

The role and influence of empowered coal mining companies has been steadily increasing, particularly since the 2004 implementation of the Mineral and Petroleum Resources Development Act (MPRDA). Other executable coal mining companies in Africa include Optimum Coal, Shanduka Resources, Kangra Coal, Total Coal South Africa, and Wescoal, among others.

In terms of the MPRDA’s use-it-or-lose-it principle, coal mining companies holding unused reserves, and those that have shut down unprofitable operations, risk losing their rights. As a result, the major coal mining companies have freed up coal deposits in Africa that are deemed uneconomical to mine, and have made noncore assets available to BEE coal mining companies, while also entering into numerous joint venture agreements.

All details of South Africa Mining Companies are available from AMIQ.


The coal industry in South Africa is one of the largest in the world.

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Coal Mines in SA

South Africa coal mines and South Africa coal mining play an important role in the country’s economy, with 77% of all primary energy needs being provided for by coal. South Africa also exports nearly one quarter of all coal, while coal mines in South Africa, and their direct supporting industries, employ roughly 55 000 people.

According to Eskom, coal mines in South Africa produce 224 million tonnes per year. South Africa is the world’s seventh-largest coal producer after China, USA, India, Australia, Indonesia, and Russia. 31% of all coal mines in South Africa can be found in the central Highveld while Witbank and Ermelo feature 30% and 13, 8% respectively.

Coal mines in South Africa can also be found in:

  • Waterberg
  • Sasolburg
  • South Rand
  • Utrecht
  • Kliprivier
  • Soutpansberg

Nearly 85% of all coal mines in South Africa are owned and operated by Anglo American’s Thermal Coal, BHP Billiton’s Ingwe Collieries, Sasol Mining, Eyesizwe and Kumba Resources. Approximately half of all coal mines in South Africa use open pit mining techniques, while the other half relies on sub-surface techniques.

It is estimated that coal mines in South Africa have the potential to access reserves of between 30 billion and 53 billion tonnes – enough to sustain coal mines in South Africa and its supporting operations for nearly 200 years at current output capacities.

Africa Mining IQ (AMIQ), the leading mining info source on coal mines in South Africa and coal mines in Africa, lists the New Largo Project surface mine, and the Mafube Colliery as the largest coal mines in South Africa. The Mafube Colliery supplies 1.1 million tonnes of coal annually and supplies Mpumalanga’s Arnot Power Station. As one of the largest coal mines in South Africa, this project is estimated to be worth approximately ZAR 16 billion over its lifespan.

The New Largo Project is listed as the second largest coal mine in South Africa. It supplies 15 million tonnes of coal yearly to the Kusile Power Station, about 25 km outside of eMalahleni. The project is valued at roughly ZAR 11 billion over its life span.

AMIQ will also provide you with information on new mines in South Africa and Africa, enabling you to get ahead of your competitors.

View all coal operations in South Africa with a subscription to Africa Mining IQ.

With an estimated 30 billion tons of reserves, coal mines in South Africa are capable of sustaining current outputs for another 200 years into the future.


 Colliery coal mine information is a click away with a subscription to AMIQ.

Detailed information of coal mining operations in South Africa is essential to companies that would like to profit off these reserves.

If you are serious about growing your business within the mining industry, contact Africa Mining IQ today to set up your free information session.

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