It is good to be back in action at Kangra after what was a tough 2020 for all our stakeholders including our valued employees, community members, traditional leaders, local authorities, suppliers, and customers.
Last year, we faced tough choices immediately when our customers closed their businesses because of COVID-19 local and global lockdowns in March 2020. We responded by making a tough but crucial decision to meet our legal obligations to all our employees in terms of paying what was due to them for services rendered over the years, and stop incurring any additional costs. We then placed the mine on care and maintenance.
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The decision enabled us to preserve Kangra’s assets with a small care and maintenance team that would prepare for the then-unknown date to restart operations. The level of uncertainty was truly daunting.
I would like to extend a special vote of thanks to the women and men, who were part of the care and maintenance team for all their hard work in ensuring the mine assets were maintained and that Kangra is in the position to ramp up to full productions in the course of the next few months.
COVID-19 has taken a heavy toll on the lives and livelihoods of many worldwide. However, looking ahead, the market indications are positive. It is for this reason that we are restarting Kangra. I want to thank the communities and the Community Forum for the assistance and support during the closure. If we work together, I firmly believe that we can stay open in these challenging times.
We have recommenced operations with the opening of the new opencast investment called Pit C. We are also planning to develop the Kusipongo resource, which is located to the west of the existing mining operations and is a natural extension of Kangra’s current coal resource. It has a coal reserve of around 41.9 million tons and would extend the life of the mine by more than 20 years.
Collectively we need to work towards a common goal of producing coal safely and cost-effectively to ensure the continuation and growth of Kangra.