CAPE TOWN (miningweekly.com) – South Africa’s mountain of discard and low-rank off-specification coal is marketable, says Osho Coal director Zaheer Surka.
Surka, who was addressing the McCloskey coal conference in Cape Town, says that this low-rank, off-spec and therefore low-margin coal needs to be sold in high volume.
There is also slurry and unmined coal to ad to the volumes.
The benefits of marketing the South Africa’s 1,5-billion tons of discard and off-spec coal that companies leave unmined will be the provision of jobs, a lowering of South Africa carbon dioxide and sulphur dioxide footprint and the releasing of 4 000 ha of the property on which the discard material has been dumped.
“Perhaps this is an opportunity for the junior players,” Surka says.
Offtake of the low-rank coal will include the “unorganised” India market – outside of the already-served Indian power generation, metallurgical and cement markets.
The demand for the low-rank coal is for its heat value of 20 GCV and above.
South Africa’s State power utility Eskom cannot make use of this coal.
Surka, who proposes that dedicated rail and port logistics be provided similar to the Richards Bay Coal Terminal model, says that turning the low-rank coal to positive account dovetails with the government’s New Growth Path plan.
Industrial & Petroleum Consultants MD Dr Philip Lloyd says that some of the slurry has high calorific value and should not be regarded as low-rank coal.