ASX-listed Universal Coal has reported that its New Clydesdale Colliery (NCC), located approximately 34 km south of eMalahleni in Mpumalanga Province, has supplied its first coal to Eskom.
The first overburden blast at New Clydesdale (photo: Universal Coal).
NCC is one of the oldest coal mines in South Africa, having been in production sporadically since 1949. It was acquired by Universal from Exxaro Resources in 2015 when it was on a care and maintenance basis. Universal returned the colliery to operations in September 2016. The recent delivery of coal to Eskom is the first such delivery in the mine’s long history.
In addition to the first coal sales to Eskom, Universal continues to produce and sell export quality coal under the offtake agreement already entered into and previously announced in 2016.
The underground operation is progressing well, with the two underground sections delivering 67 kt for the month of February. A third underground section is due to start production this month (March).
The underground mine delivers primarily 6 000 kcal thermal coal from the Diepspruit shaft and is set to achieve nameplate tonnage rates of 900 000 t/a by the end of June this year.
Universal is also in the process of starting opencast operations at NCC – at the Roodekop pit – with targeted production being 2,4 Mt/a ROM of premium quality domestic thermal coal and low phos metallurgical coal. Steady state is expected to be achieved in mid-2017.
The boxcut development, which commenced in January this year, remains on schedule and the first overburden blast took place recently. Says Universal: “With first ROM coal scheduled by the end of March 2017, opencast coal will be processed in April as per schedule, ensuring contractual coal sales will be exceeded rather than met.”
According to Universal, reconstruction of the third DMS module of the Coal Handling and Preparation Plant (CHPP) is progressing well and is on schedule for commissioning shortly, in line with first production from the opencast operation. The HMS module will increase the total operational capacity, enabling NCC to reach the targeted steady state beneficiation capacity of 3,3 Mt/a.