Sasol on home-stretch on Secunda’s R15.3 billion Mine Replacement Project

by Ina King (Potgieter)

SasolSasol, in a press conference held at Impumelelo Mine in early May 2015, has stated that its R15.3 billion Coal Mine Replacement Project in Secunda, Mpumalanga, will be completed within the next year.

This three-fold project that started in 2009, entails replacing ageing mines (built in the 1980s) with new underground mines that are set to maintain the company’s coal mining production of 40 million tons a year and aims to replace 60% of Secunda’s coal production.

“You don’t see any new mines in South Africa. This replacement project is a great investment in local mining,” says Peter Steenkamp, Sasol Mining’s senior vice-president.

The first mine in this project, the R3 billion Thubelisha Colliery, was completed in 2012.

The R4.7 billion Impumelelo Mine (which replaced the Brandspruit colliery) has been ramped to deliver 8.5 million tons per year (with future expansion expected to 10.5 million) and this coal will be used exclusively by the Sasol Synfuels Plant.

Sasol is currently constructing the Shondoni Colliery (to replace the old Middlebult mine) for R5 billion, and will produce about 10.5 million tons a year from the second half of 2015.

Sasol has also spent R1.4 billion on the Syferfontein coal mine.

“The cost of keeping the old mines going was high due to old, expensive conveyer belt systems, but mining the reserves in Secunda is still the cheapest way of producing coal…even though they need to be underground and deep,” he commented.

In addition, Sasol has spent R417 million on building houses, roads and community centres as part of the social labour plan. Approximately 3 000 jobs will be retained as a result of the project and another 1 000 jobs were created during the construction phase.

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