ASX-listed junior mining company Universal Coal has had a phenomenal year, having moved its primary thermal coal asset Kangala from a bankable study, to development and imminently, first production – all while remaining committed to deliver first coal two months ahead of schedule – in February this year. By Laura Cornish.

Kangala, in which Universal Coal holds 70.5% ownership, will be a 2 Mtpa coal operation and thanks to its low stripping ratio (1.6:1), requires only a slightly higher 2.4 Mtpa ROM rate. While achieving first production will be a significant accomplishment in its own right, for a junior, it falls on the back of an extremely short development timeframe. And despite this, will deliver coal two months ahead of its original target date. The project ticks every box with mining right, environmental authorisation and water licence secured. It is fully financed (AU$13.5 million) following a successful cash raising exercise in December 2011 and 29.5% BEE partner Mountain Rush is contributing its share.

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