New coal plant boosts returns

Somkhele coal mine's third wash plant became operational in March, boosting saleable anthracite production

ZULULAND metallurgical anthracite colliery Tendele Coal Mining is looking at a shinier second half of the year with more rock rolling in since an additional wash plant became operational in March.

The Somkhele opencast mine outside Mtubatuba increased its yield with the commissioning of a R62-million third plant to produce an energy product from discarded product, with the capacity to produce 1.2-million tonnes of saleable metallurgical anthracite and 480 000 tonnes of energy product.

Mine owner Petmin Limited released a statement on Monday declaring that second half of the year anthracite production for the mine has already climbed by 80% to 528 666 tonnes from 293 765 tonnes during the first half of the year.

The plant processed 207 238 tonnes of energy product from nil last year.

Overall, its year-on-year production increased from 637 220 tonnes of anthracite last year to 822 431 tonnes in June this year.

Petmin says the mine is ‘delivering solid results’ with normalised profit after tax improved by 55% from R33.9-million for the six months to December 2012 to R52.7-million for the six months to June 2013.

Low profits for the mine ending last year was due to 42 production days lost to an unprotected strike in September, as well as unusually high rainfall encountered during October, November and December, which prevented the delivery of coal from open pits.

Mia Moorcroft

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