Kangra resumes operations after Covid-19 temporary shuttering

9th March 2021

By: Donna Slater

Features Deputy Editor and Chief Photographer


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The Mpumalanga-based Kangra coal mine, which was put on care and maintenance in March 2020 as a result of Covid-19 restrictions impacting its position in the domestic and export markets, has resumed operations this month.

Kangra was placed on care and maintenance after the collapse of export markets, in addition to low thermal coal prices that dipped owing to a supply glut. This low demand meant it was unsustainable for parent company, private investment company Menar Group, to carry the cost of operating a high-cost underground mine.

Kangra’s ore washing infrastructure enables it to produce a range of thermal coal products for both international and domestic customers, but the majority of Kangra’s coal is exported through the Richards Bay Coal Terminal, in which the miner holds a 1.94% share that permits it to export over 1.6-million tonnes a year.

However, Kangra has over the past few weeks engaged with various stakeholders to enable a smooth restart of operations, subsequently recommencing operations with the opening of the new opencast investment – Pit C.

Menar COO Bradley Hammond, who is overseeing the resumption of operations, says Kangra is in the process of ramping up operations to meet customer supply requirements. “We want to thank the communities and the community forum for the assistance and support during the closure. If we work together, we can stay open in these challenging times.”

In addition to Pit C, Kangra is also planning to develop the Kusipongo resource, which is located to the west of the existing mining operations and is a natural extension of Kangra’s current coal resource. It has a coal reserve of around 41.9-million tonnes and this would extend the life of the mine by more than 20 years.

The decision to resume operations comes at a time of several months of improvement in thermal coal prices, along with internal and external price modelling. Kangra states that this has given it confidence that the mine will operate profitably over the longer term.

Kangra says its consistent quality and secure production has made it a highly sought-after supplier to key international markets, which is boosted further by its close proximity to the port of Richards Bay.

At its peak, Kangra, which was acquired from Madrid-listed energy company Naturgy in 2018, produced over two-million tonnes a year.

Edited by Chanel de Bruyn
Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor Online




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