Canyon Coal optimistic about local mining industry despite headwinds

GROWTH AMBITIONS Canyon aims to graduate to a midtier coal miner by 2020, as it ramps up production from 3.6-million tons of coal a year to 10-million tons a year

Photo by Duane Daws

VUSLAT BAYOGLU Bayoglu believes in focusing on the silver lining to drive an ‘organic and realistic growth strategy’

Photo by Duane Daws

13th October 2017

By: Ilan Solomons

Creamer Media Staff Writer


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Despite current policy uncertainty relating to the implementation of Mining Charter III and a struggling South African economy having adverse effects on the local mining industry, South African junior coal mining company Canyon Coal is buoyant about the future.

The company’s management has adopted a long-term view of the sector’s prospects beyond current uncertainty and challenging economic conditions. Canyon executive chairperson Vuslat Bayoglu believes in focusing on the silver lining to drive an “organic and realistic growth strategy”.

He highlights that the company’s strategy is characterised by developing new projects, improving efficiency and output in existing operations, managing risks, exploring new markets, and deepening stakeholder relations, including those with local communities where the company operates, while also ensuring strict compliance with regulations.


his strategy will see Canyon graduate to a midtier coal miner by 2020, as it ramps up production from where it stands currently at 3.6-million tons a year to 10-million tons a year.

Canyon owns and operates three collieries in the Mpumalanga region, Hakhano, Singani (Middelburg) and Phalanndwa (Delmas). The company also plans to expand in the area adjacent to Hakhano, where it will continue to use the infrastructure after the existing deposits have been exhausted.

These opencast operations produce bituminous coal for domestic and export markets. However, Canyon intends to soon add two Gauteng-based projects to its portfolio of operational mines, namely the Ukufisa colliery project, in Springs, and the Khanye colliery project, in Bronkhorstpruit.

Plans are already at an advanced stage to bring Ukufisa and Khanye into operation by the end of this year.

Bayoglu told Mining Weekly, in March, that Ukufisa has coal reserves of 170-million, including an extension project. The company plans to produce 500 000 t/m of coal over a 25 year life-of-mine. It will be an opencast mine with a 2.5:1 strip ratio that will produce export-grade coal in the RB3 category range. The project has already been granted a water use licence (WUL) and mining rights.

Bayoglu notes that, although Canyon has not yet secured a supply agreement with State-owned power utility Eskom, the quality of coal and the mine’s proximity to the utility’s power stations make it an “ideal and cost-effective” supply option for Eskom.
Canyon acquired De Wittekrans in 2016, which has a coal reserve of 118-million tons. The project has been granted a mining right and a WUL. Mining is planned to start at De Wittekrans during the first half of 2018.

The company also owns the Springfield project, in Gauteng, and is expected to start opencast operations in 2019, producing about six-million tons of run-of-mine coal a year over a life span of 50 years. Canyon also owns two processing plants whose current production capacity can be expanded. One of the plants is located at Hakhano and processes coal produced from this operation, as well as coal hauled in from Singani. The other plant is in Phalanndwa.

Driving Canyon’s growth strategy alongside Bayoglu is Hakhano and Singani GM Guy Thompson, Canyon group plant manager Jacques Diener and Phalanndwa GM Alan Mabbett. “Our team’s combined experience ensures that we are adept at managing risks inherent in any mining operation,” Bayoglu asserts.

Conscious of the needs of local communities, Canyon prioritises local community applications for job opportunities at its various operations and is actively involved in community development initiatives.

The company assisted in building the Bonginhlanhla Simulation Centre for disabled children, near the Hakhano and Singani collieries, which cares for 35 children suffering with physical and learning disabilities. The company also provides bursaries for talented young people from poor households in their operating regions.

After a child and an adult drowned while crossing an overflowing river in Delmas, Canyon helped to build the Given Diko footbridge to assist learners and other pedestrians to cross safely. The bridge has been named after the child who drowned.

Edited by Martin Zhuwakinyu
Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor




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