Menar coal and anthracite projects, South Africa – update

Image of Udumu adit

18th March 2022

By: Sheila Barradas

Creamer Media Research Coordinator & Senior Deputy Editor


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Name of the Project
Menar coal and anthracite projects.

Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal and Mpumalanga, in South Africa.

Project Owner/s
Menar, through its subsidiaries Kangra and Canyon Coal.

Project Description
Menar, through its subsidiaries, expects to produce 20-million tons of coal a year from 2022/23.

Several projects are proposed, including:

  • the Bekezela (formerly Palmietkuilen) project, near Springs, in Gauteng. It will be an opencast mine producing 600 000 t a month of run-of-mine (RoM) coal at steady-state production, with a life-of-mine (LoM) of about 19 years (excluding construction phase).
  • the Gugulethu (formerly De Wittekrans) project, south of Hendrina, in Mpumalanga, which will be an opencast and underground operation with an estimated 25-year LoM, based on RoM production of 300 000 t a month.
  • the Witfontein underground and opencast coal project, north-west of Bethal, in Mpumalanga, which has an estimated LoM of nine years, based on RoM production of about 100 000 t a month.
  • the Riversdale Anthracite Colliery (RAC) project, in Vryheid, KwaZulu-Natal, will be an underground project with a six-year LoM, based on RoM production of 30 000 t a month.
  • the Springfield opencast project, in Vereeniging, Gauteng, with an LoM of about 36 years, based on RoM production of about 600 000 t a month.
  • the Driefontein opencast project, in Middelburg, Mpumalanga, with an LoM of about eight years, based on RoM production of about 50 000 t a month.
  • the Koppie underground project, in Bethal, Mpumalanga, with an LoM of about 20 years, based on RoM of about 150 000 t a month.
  • the Birmingham underground project, in Hendrina, Mpumalanga, with an LoM of 13 years, based on RoM production of 300 000 t a month.
  • the Aasvoëlkrans underground project, 10 km north-west of Utrecht, in KwaZulu-Natal, with an LoM of eight years, which is based on RoM production of about 68 000 t a month.
  • the Mngeni Shaft, which will extend the LoM of the Zululand Anthracite Colliery (ZAC), about 27 km north-east of Ulundi, and has an LoM of about 3.5 years, based on RoM production of about 25 000 t a month.
  • the Kusipongo underground project, outside of Piet Retief, in Mpumalanga, with an LoM of more than 20 years based on RoM production of 125 000 t a month.

Menar has ramped up the Khanye Colliery, in Bronkhorstspruit, Gauteng, which is producing 2.4-million tons of coal a year. The Hakhano Colliery – the group’s first opencast mine – processing plant will be restarted once a new nearby mining project receives the required authorisations.

Mining operations started at the Phalanndwa Colliery extension following the first large-scale blasting of coal on July 17, 2019. The project is expected to extend the LoM to 2025. The project has reached steady-state production and is producing an average of 120 000 t a month of RoM.

Potential Job Creation
Menar projects are expected to create 5 600 jobs, including 320 at the Bekezela project, 430 at the Gugulethu project, 200 at the Witfontein coal project, 200 at the RAC and 400 at the Springfield opencast mine. Aasvoëlkrans will create about 70 jobs and Mngeni Shaft about 200 jobs.

The operating Khanye Colliery employs 400 people and the Phalanndwa Colliery extension project employs 200 people.

Net Present Value/Internal Rate of Return
Not stated.

Capital Expenditure
Menar plans to invest about R7-billion in coal projects from now until 2023, including R1.5-billion in Bekezela, R600-million in Phase 1 for Gugulethu, R1.5-billion in the Springfield project, R700-million in the Witfontein project, R1-billion in the Birmingham and Koppie projects, R300-million in RAC, about R388-million in Aasvoëlkrans and about R130-million in the Mngeni Shaft development.

Planned Start/End Date
Gugulethu and Bekezela are expected to start production in 2022, while Witfontein is expected to begin in 2023. The development of the Riversdale project will also start in 2022.

The Springfield project is expected to start production in 2023, as is the development of the Birmingham, Koppie and Aasvoëlkrans projects.

Mngeni Shaft will start with production during the second quarter of 2022.

The start dates for the projects are subject to coal market conditions.

Latest Developments
Negotiations are continuing with stakeholders at Canyon Coal’s fully licensed, but yet-to-be-developed Gugulethu colliery. Phase 1, which will entail opencast mining, has a reserve of 14.3-million tons, while Phase 2 will add an underground component. Phase 1 consists of three pits, one of which has been designed specifically to provide access to the underground reserve.

Canyon’s Bekezela is awaiting a long-overdue water-use licence. Menar is hoping that the Bekezela mine will benefit from government’s plan to cut red tape.

Operations are scheduled to begin soon at Mngeni shaft, a fully licensed 1.2-million-ton resource. The project, which will use the drill-and-blast mining method, has an anticipated four-year mine life.

Menar produced the first coal from its new underground Udumo adit on February 9, 2022. Construction of the new adit started on April 6, 2021, and was completed in January.

Udumo comprises an adit where access will be gained to the rest of the reserves for underground mining. A capital budget of R153.6-million was assigned for the establishment of Udumo.

The access road to the adit was completed on September 13, 2021, and the power lines and the water reticulation connections were completed by mid-December. With a mixture of low- and high-volatility coal, the Kusipongo reserve will be mined from three sections using a bord-and-pillar method.

The new adit, previously known as Twyfelhoek, was renamed Udumo – which means “honour” in isiZulu – to better reflect the spirit and culture of the surrounding Saul Mkhizeville community in Mpumalanga.

The Udumo adit forms part of the Kusipongo coal resource located to the west of the previously developed and ongoing Kangra mining operations. The Kusipongo mine has a coal reserve of about 41.9-million tons and could extend the LoM by more than 20 years.

Meanwhile, the Udumo adit housing relocation project is nearing completion. The project, which entails the construction of new homes for the families that had to be relocated within the 500 m from the blasting area of the adit, started in August 2021.

Kangra’s reserves on its Maquasa mining right consisting of the East, West, Block H and Block C operations, which have been in operation since 1996, will be depleted in the foreseeable future.

Kangra operates two underground coal sections – at H Block using continuous miners, and the opencast Pit C using truck and shovel techniques.

Kangra GM Pierre Louw has told Mining Weekly that when H Block is depleted, the equipment used in the H Block underground mine will be moved to Udumo to mine the Kusipongo reserves.

The Pit C opencast mine will continue mining Phase 1 until the reserves are depleted towards the fourth quarter of this year.

Phase 2 of Pit C, should it become available to mine during this period, will extend the life of the pit until the end of 2023.

Kangra’s next development of the Kusipongo reserves is the planned Balgarthan A adit, which will have one underground section.

The updated capital budget estimated for Balgarthan A is R112.6-million.

The Balgarthan adit will be located about 25 km south-west of the Udomo adit. Louw has said the company is targeting the third quarter for the start of construction on the new adit.

Kangra is targeting a production rate of 1.44-million tons a year RoM from the underground mining sections once Belgarthan A shaft is commissioned and 360 000 t/y RoM from the available opencast areas for the duration of the LoM.

Once mined from the various adits, the coal will be either trucked or conveyed by overland conveyor to the Maquasa East shaft. From there, it will be washed and trucked to the Panbult Rail Siding about 30 km from the mine.

It will then be railed to the Richards Bay Coal Terminal (RBCT), in KwaZulu-Natal, with the bulk to be sold to export clients. Some of the coal is reserved for local metallurgical applications.

Kangra’s coal can be washed to produce a range of thermal coal products for international and domestic customers. The majority of Kangra’s coal is exported through the RBCT for power producers. Kangra holds an interest in RBCT, which enables it to export more than 1.6-million tons a year of coal.

Kangra has three washing plants on site – one 350 t/h plant and two 250 t/h plants. Louw has explained that only one of the plants is operating currently at 200 t/h and that the company is considering adding a filter press to increase plant feed.

In addition to the new underground development, Kangra started mining the Block C opencast section, which will be ramped up to about 40 000 t/m of RoM coal now that the Udumo adit is established.

Louw has said that the production ramp-up was delayed slightly by heavy rains in December and January. However, the excavators used to open Udumo were being moved into Pit C to assist with the ramp-up.

The pit is being mined using two excavators and several 40 t articulated dump trucks.

Key Contracts, Suppliers and Consultants
Phillips, JA Engineering; Sandvik; Volvo; ZNZ Construction & Projects; Ntwanaza Logistics; Mhobozeli; Beautiful Landscaping; Zululand Bus Services; Zamokuhle MJ Catering & Other Services; Uzamile Trading; Increase Business Construction; Thuthukani Trading Co-Operative; Izithenjwa Corporative Enterprise; Emhlophe Investments & Trading; Khumbulani N Son; Ikusasa Lama Jola; Babazani Construction & Projects; and Dibanto General Services.

Phillips; JA Engineering; Sandvik; Volvo; CAT; Mumnkosi Project & Services; Zama Phangwa Construction; Macina Building & General Maintenance; Mgquzeni Mining; Foloyi Construction and Projects; Donkerhoek Mining Projects (DMS); DDK Logistics; and Komatsu Mining and Sandvik Mining (viewing and implementation of real-time systems to monitor operational and safety performance of the equipment).

Canyon Coal:
Volvo; CAT; Bell; Komatsu; Mbalenhle Tours And Construction; African Pro Mining & Supplies; Dube Solution; Grapeseed Trading 102; Skipgo; Golden Reno Trading and Project; Highlands Commodities cc; Kungwini Mica; Malefo Holdings; Mulwane Trading and Projects; Nduzane General Trade; Phoka Goje Transport and Services; W Masuku Transport and Projects; Zonke General Trading cc; Summer Triangle Trading; Royal Pros Services; Madlayedwa Transport; Mrholozi Group; Kardicks Logisticks; Sesupha Solutions; Netshipise Business Solutions; Future Rise Enterprise; Thuthukisa Izwe Trading; Atang Holdings; IK Mnguni; Kgaditse Prestige Events; Ndimande Logistics and Transport Mancamane Trading Enterprise; SSW Signs & Reflective; Malele Hydraulics; Malefo Mining services; Nkosana Sizwe Trading Enterprise; 1st Episode Trading; Two Mosquitos; Road Science Technology; Armoured Enterprise; Amandla Mining Service; Starcrow 36; Buhlebuta Business Enterprises; JD Hydraulics; Afikile Construction; NTT Toyota Delmas; Maphangela; Bakone Bakopane; PTM Trading; Khethowakho Trading & Projects; Inelco International; Xclusive energy; BMG Delmas; Morgan Gift; and Enhle projects.

Contact Details for Project Information
Menar tel +27 11 783 7996 or email

Edited by Creamer Media Reporter



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