Menar coal and anthracite projects, South Africa – update

Image of drill core from the De Wittekrans project

Photo by Canyon Coal

24th March 2023

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 22 years.
  • the Gugulethu (formerly De Wittekrans) project, south of Hendrina, in Mpumalanga, which will be an opencast and underground operation with an estimated 39-year LoM, based on RoM production of about 200 000 t a month from opencast areas and 200 000 t a month from underground sections.
  • 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 Sukuma (formerly 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 Ukwenama (formerly 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 Gila (formerly Koppie) underground project, in Bethal, Mpumalanga, with an LoM of about 20 years, based on RoM of about 150 000 t a month.
  • the Umzila (formerly 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), located about 27 km north-east of Ulundi, has an LoM of about six 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. The Udumo adit forms part of the Kusipongo coal resource. Kusipongo includes the development  of the Balgarthan A adit, located about 25 km south-west of the Udomo adit, which will have one underground section.

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, 200 at Witfontein, 200 at the RAC and 400 at the Sukuma 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 Gugulethu for Phase 1, R1.5-billion in Sukuma, R700-million in Witfontein, R1-billion in Umzila and Gila, R300-million in RAC, about R388-million in Aasvoëlkrans and about R137-million in the Mngeni Shaft development.

Planned Start/End Date
Menar produced the first coal from its new underground Udumo adit on February 9, 2022.

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 Sukuma, Umzila, Gila and Aasvoëlkrans projects are expected to start production in 2023.

Mngeni Shaft was expected to start production during the second quarter of 2022. It is now expected to achieve first coal in October this year, which is about 12 months after its start date.

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

Latest Developments
ZAC GM Wayne Rowe has indicated that the R137-million Mngeni Shaft project is edging closer to completion, with water infrastructure and electrical reticulation installed in February.

This month, basic surface infrastructure, such as offices and change houses, will be finalised.

ZAC has spent almost half of its budget, with R67-million committed so far. To date, a significant portion of the Mngeni boxcut has been mined and security arrangements have also been completed.

The Mngeni shaft will use drill-and-blast mining methods to increase production by an anticipated 180 000 t/y to 240 000 t/y of anthracite. The shaft will be about 240 m long and 34 m deep, with seam thicknesses from 2.3 m to 2.6 m.

Rowe has said there has been scope creep regarding mining costs, as the decision has been made not to mine the boxcut in the traditional manner.

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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