Coal king courts Leandra

5th November 1999 By: System Author

Eddie Scholtz Don Turvey Coal giant Ingwe – headed by new MD Eddie Scholtz – may soon extend its domination of the coal industry with the initiation of a feasibility study for the development of the Delmas extension project in its coal reserves, better known as the Leandra reserves, in Mpumalanga.

This project, which is potentially one of the biggest of its kind for Ingwe, will see the mining of the No 4 seam, which overlies the present Delmas Colliery No 2 seam workings, and which will extend further to the west.

The development of the No 4 seam reserves in Leandra North could provide up to 30 years of mining, depending on production rates, while the adjacent Leandra South reserves – which contain both the No 2 and No 4 seams, with even greater volumes, could add additional life.

Senior project manager Don Turvey, who until recently was Delmas Colliery GM, is working on the feasibility study along with a small team.

“Our aim is to develop a truly multiproduct mine which will be able to supply a variety of products to inland customers as well as the export market.

“Right now we are involved in an intensive programme of geological drilling to verify the estimates of the reserves, and a comprehensive environmental impact study is being undertaken,” reports Turvey.

The team will also make a decision on whether to use wall mining, bord-and-pillar, or a combination of the two, as this will affect employment.

The workforce of the mine will be drawn largely from Ingwe employees affected by the completion of mining cycles.

The challenge is to establish a world-class mine operating in the lower 25% of the operating cost curve that will still be competitive in 2020.

Ingwe is already in the throes of a R1,1-billion, three-year capex programme at the Middelburg and Douglas mines in Mpumalanga.

At Middelburg, the R500-million Klipfontein project is some 70% complete, will replace areas that have been depleted, and will move part of the operation into a new mining area known as the Klipfontein reserve.

The development embraces a series of conveyor belts which will transport the coal to the main plant, as well as a new middlings facility, which will increase the yield.

It also incorporates a new tipping point, new haul roads, new dragline walkways and power supplies, new crushers and conveyor belts, as well as surface rights, which previously did not belong to Ingwe.

Once complete, there will be a marginal increase in output at the operation, but the real aim of the project is to extend the operation’s capacity to the new reserves, while boosting flexibility and offering Middelburg a new lease on life.

The project will add to the number of coal grades mined, which will be blended to suit identified markets.

It is anticipated that the project will be completed by March next year.