JSE-listed Exxaro Resources has started with work on its Matla Mine 1 Relocation project.
The 42-year-old Matla operation consists of three underground mines.
At Matla Mine 1, which has been on care and maintenance since 2016, a new decline shaft is being developed, including a boxcut with bulk materials handling facility.
Exxaro targets first production from Mine 1 again in the second half of 2023, at a capacity of four-million tonnes of coal a year, bringing the total production from the Matla operation to ten-million tonnes a year for the remainder of its mine life to 2042.
The coal is supplied to State-owned power utility Eskom’s Matla power station, near Kriel, in Mpumalanga.
Eskom is funding the R3.3-billion cost of the Matla Mine 1 Relocation project, while Exxaro remains responsible for project management and mining at Matla.
Exxaro has been waiting for Eskom to make good on its investment commitments to continue accessing resources at the Mine 1 shaft.
Exxaro projects and technology executive head Johan Meyer tells Mining Weekly that the relocation project involves the construction of a new decline shaft to gain access to the remaining economical two-seam reserves.
The project also includes plans to supply Mine 1 with five complete suites of underground continuous mining equipment, interseams between Mine 2 and Mine 3, and a ventilation shaft to supply fresh air to Mine 3’s future production areas.
Exxaro is in the process of identifying direct and indirect local procurement opportunities valued at R300-million. Local black-owned suppliers and entrepreneurs are expected to participate in tender and quotation processes.
While the boxcut work on the project, for example, has to be done by specialised contractors, Exxaro takes every effort to include community participation on all other nonspecialised site works.
Meyer says Exxaro continuously investigates how to maximise local procurement, skills development and economic development.
He adds that many of Exxaro’s specialised contractors, in turn, procure goods and services from local communities.