The Department of Mineral Resources and Energy (DMRE) has granted MC Mining the mining right for its 74%-owned Mopane coking and thermal coal project, in the Limpopo province.
The Mopane project, together with the Chapudi and Generaal projects, comprises the company’s longer-term Greater Soutpansberg project (GSP) in the Soutpansberg coalfield.
The GSP is located within close proximity to the Musina-Makhado Special Economic Zone (SEZ), an area designated by government to focus on energy and metallurgical industries.
MC submitted mining right applications for the three GSP project areas to the DMRE during 2013. The Chapudi project mining right was granted in December 2018, followed by the Generaal project's mining right in November 2019.
The Mopane project contains 230-million tonnes of measured and indicated coal resources and supports MC’s strategy of being South Africa’s pre-eminent producer of hard coking coal, which is used in the steel manufacturing process and attracts significantly higher sales prices compared with thermal coal, the company notes.
“The granting of the Mopane project mining right is a further step in unlocking value from MC’s significant coking coal assets, positioning the GSP to be a potential long-term coking coal supplier to industrial users, both local and offshore, including the planned Musina-Makhado SEZ.
"The domestic and export Makhado Phase 1 and Phase 2 hard coking coal offtake agreements already in place reflect the market’s appetite for metallurgical coal,” says MC acting CEO Brenda Berlin.
She points out that the long-term development of the three GSP project areas is complementary to the company’s flagship Makhado hard coking coal project, which is also in the Soutpansberg coalfield.
Berlin says the company has made significant progress in advancing Makhado and anticipates completing the Phase 1 capital raise process in the first quarter of this calendar year, with the nine-month construction period starting soon thereafter and first coal sales in the first half of the 2022 calendar year.