Coal Mining in South Africa

Coal Mining 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.

There is approximately 890 billion tons of coal around the world - adequate 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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Importance of coal mining 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. Nearly 80% of the energy needs of South Africa are taken care of by coal.

Coal mining in Africa and 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.

While the volume of coal mined during January 2019 is 6% lower than a year ago, the sales values are up almost 12%.

Coal Mining in 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 country’s deposits located in eMalahleni (Witbank) and surrounding areas.

Two of the biggest coal mining 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:

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

The New Largo Project is the second largest coal operation:

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

AMIQ  provides contact details for coal mining projects in Africa

Coal Mining Companies

Five mining companies 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 actively coal mining in South Africa.


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If you’re looking for new opportunities in the South Africa mining industry, AMIQ provides the intelligence you need to accurately target business opportunities in South Africa. We help companies grow their business by giving them the most in-depth, up-to-the-minute intelligence on South Africa’s mining projects, including key contact details for Mine Owners and Project Engineers/EPCs, companies can successfully target new projects early in their specification.

Our database also contains key contact information and project update and analysis for leading mining companies in Gauteng, including: Anglo American & AngloGold Ashanti, African Rainbow Minerals, BHP Billiton Limited, Gold Fields, Harmony Gold, Impala Platinum, Rio Tinto and Xstrata PLC.


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