RICHARDS BAY (miningweekly.com) – Richards Bay Coal Terminal (RBCT) exported 73.47-million tonnes of coal in 2018, 4.1% less than in 2017.
The main export destination of the South African-mined coal was Asia at 81.6%.
Europe was the recipient of 10.1% of the coal, Africa 8% and South America 0.3%.
India was the biggest single country recipient at 35.29-million tonnes followed by Pakistan at 9.37-million tonnes and then South Korea at 6.73-million tonnes.
Netherlands was the export destination for 3.14-million tonnes and Spain for 1.38-million tonnes.
Of the African countries, Egypt was top with 1.33-million tonnes.
RBCT has a 2019 export target of 77-million tonnes, which will take it beyond the record 76.47-million tonnes exported in 2017.
RBCT CEO Alan Waller outlined the success of Africa’s largest coal terminal to move coal in a safe, cost-effective and efficient manner.
The terminal received 27 trains a day against a capacity to receive 32 trains a day as part of its partnership with Transnet Freight Rail, which Waller described as one that “works very well”.
Twenty-four fewer vessels were loaded in 2018, 883 compared with 907 in 2017, and three-million fewer tonnes exported.
Weather, which cut 36 days out of the schedule following the 38 of 2017, has become an ongoing challenge that RBCT has not allowed to get in the way of its export commitments.
Marine services are being stepped up with the introduction of a third tug boat and helicopter assistance.
The equipment replacement programme has been highly successful, with the first phase's brand new stacker reclaimers and shiploaders achieving improved turnaround times for coal exporters.
The two new stacker reclaimers took over from 42-year-old machines and the two new shiploaders are operating at 98% to 99% efficiency.
The two rail-mounted stacker reclaimers operate at a rate of 6 000 t/h and the two rail-mounted shiploaders at a rate of 10 000 t/h.
The stackers allocate the coal to 98 stockpiles and reclaimers extract 42 different grades of coal from the stockpiles. The shiploaders then load the coal on to waiting vessels.
The terminal has a capacity to export 91-million tonnes of coal a year. The 2.2 km, six-berth quay has four ship loaders and a stockyard that can hold 8.2-million tonnes of coal.
RBCT is owned by Anglo Operations, ARM Coal, South32 Coal, Exxaro, Glencore Operations, Kangra Coal, Koornfontein Mines, Optimum Coal Terminal, Sasol Mining, South Dunes Coal Terminal, South African Coal Mine Holdings, Tumelo Coal Mines and Umcebo Mining, with Optimum Coal and Koornfontein in business rescue.