Burgeoning coal miner Londani Coal has positioned itself to successfully supply the fluctuating coal demand of the export and domestic markets amid the Covid-19 pandemic and has a “strong appetite for business going forward”, says Londani Coal Mehmet Selim Kaymak.
Established in 2006, Londani operates the Nndanganeni colliery in Middelburg, Mpumalanga, and has continued to run at full capacity during the outbreak as an essential services provider.
About 120 000 t of coal a month is mined at Nndanganeni using opencast mining methods, producing about 1.5-million tons of coal a year from Seam 1 and 2.
“The operation is also equipped with a coal processing plant to beneficiate export grade sized coal, while middlings coal is produced through a secondary washing process to supply local market requirements,” says Kaymak
The company is highly knowledgeable about the position of coal in the global energy market, as it has exported about 70% of its coal since its inception.
“Therefore, the company has made the necessary long-term investment in logistical capacity and has established the critical relationships and networks required to successfully serve the export market,” notes Kaymak.
However, the recent volatility of the market, compounded by a decline in global energy needs owing to the Covid-19 pandemic, has confirmed the company’s strategy to diversify.
“By being a flexible operation, we can export our tonnage or sell it locally, depending on market conditions,” says Kaymak.
Londani aims to improve its share of the domestic market, with State-owned power utility Eskom being its main target.
Londani Coal COO Etienne Jooste highlights that the physical location of the Nndanganeni complex and the nature of the coal reserves are perfectly suited for the aforesaid, as it is located in proximity of three power stations, with the ability to reach at least five.
The company first considered supplying the domestic market in 2016 and has been engaged with Eskom for the past two years.
The company is also well positioned to supply the domestic metallurgical market and has established business relationships to this effect as well as in the local petrochemicals industry.
Londani aims to be the preferred coal miner of choice by providing services and products that are aligned with world-class standards, states Jooste.
“We believe in always conducting ethical business and implement the highest corporate governance standards.”
Londani is dedicated to maintaining long-term business-to-business relationships by upholding transparency, good business practices and ensuring customer satisfaction, which is confirmed by the long-lasting relationships it has established with global blue-chip mining companies.
To achieve its ambitions, Londani relies on a small dynamic team, comprising purposefully selected skills.
Teamwork is vital, with the company being highly selective when choosing team members based on their knowledge and experience, as each member has a large impact on the team’s overall performance, comments Kaymak.
Jooste explains that the company employs a streamlined, cross-functional management structure. Each employee takes full ownership of his or her department, while Londani empowers people at all levels of the business, creating an environment in which they can grow to their full potential.
Backing the Londani team, industry leading contractors undertake mainstream work, including opencast mining, coal processing, materials handling and transportation of coal.
“These contractors are aligned with our goals for the next five years as they are seen as partners in our business.”
Subsequently, Londani has access to the best skills in the market, the latest technologies and processing methods, as well as the flexibility to meet fluctuating demand.
While focused on delivering superior service, Londani also uplifts the farming community surrounding its operation through a local farmer and the Steve Tshwete local municipality.
“We employ from the local community and surrounding areas of the operation as a first option. Small works required at the mine and general workers are also sourced from the aforesaid community bordering the mine. Londani Coal is actively involved in the Ipani Primary School, which comprises 360 learners. We have recently invested in the construction of a school hall for the primary school and the project was completed successfully,” says Jooste.
The school hall was handed over in the third quarter of last year. Currently, Londani is upgrading the primary school’s ablution facilities and cafeteria area, as well as working towards building a library.
With a reserve that enables a low-cost and profitable operation, the company has successfully supplied the right market at the right time, but also attributes its sustainability to its management team, in-house supply chain and logistics and reliable contractors.
“Long-term, solid relationships with industry leading contractors and other service suppliers coupled to a highly efficient and effective supply chain results in a lower cost per ton and a sustainable business model, especially in tough market conditions. Its only by working closely with the said entities that one can survive turbulent times like now, and we have proved that,” concludes Jooste.