New KZN coal mine

2009-01-08 00:00

Full-scale coal mining production is expected to begin within three months at Miranda Minerals’ subsidiary, Sesikhona Kliprand Colliery, near Dannhauser in KwaZulu-Natal.

This follows Miranda’s announcement that Sesikhona has been granted a Mining Right over the four adjoining farms covering about 884 hectares.

The company holds extensive mineral rights at coalfields across KZN and it is estimated that total deposits could amount to several hundred million tons.

Miranda’s financial director, Wayne Ison, told The Witness that between 80 and 120 jobs will be created during the initial phase, adding that they have invested in R50 million worth of equipment so far.

The company’s subsidiary, Sesikhona, entered into a joint venture agreement with Ihlosi to develop the potential of the Kliprand coal and anthracite deposit.

The local community owns a 12% stake in the project and significant skills development plans have already been put in place.

Ison added that wherever possible, local people have been given preference in respect of employment opportunities.

“This is an open cast mine; a relatively simple mining method. It’s literally an earth-moving process at this stage. Once the mine goes into the underground phase — after five to six years — then further investment [in infrastructure] will take place.”

Ison said that all the foundations — such as the washing plant, workshops and slurry ponds — are in place.

“The anthracite is very high quality coal and will be used in the steel industry,” he added.

It is estimated that the site, which is Miranda’s first KZN project to “come online”, houses a 22 million ton deposit.

Ison said the mining life cycle at Sesikhona could last between 15 and 20 years.

Miranda also noted that production levels should reach 30 000 to 50 000 tons per month.

Applications have been submitted to the Minerals and Energy Department in respect of another significant project known as “Amajuba”, located 15 km from Sesikhona, Ison said.

kavith@witness.co.za

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