From 2016 onwards, ASX-listed coal miner Universal Coal will no longer fall into South Africa’s ‘junior miner’ category. The company is on the brink of doubling (almost) its thermal coal production as it brings its second mining operation NCC/Roodekop online – which will elevate its status to mid-tier, multi-mine coal producer, writes Laura Cornish.
In mining terms, Universal Coal is growing with lightning speed – few, if any, juniors can boast a doubling production profile within a three year timeframe – but this mining company is about to do so. Not only is it ramping up production at its Delmas-based colliery Kangala, but will soon turn the lights back on at its 2.2 Mtpa NCC (New Clydesdale Colliery) wash plant (currently on care and maintenance) which it acquired from coal mining giant Exxaro early in 2014. Universal Coal received the Section 11 MPRDA ministerial approval in July 2015, completing the ownership transfer and positioning the operation under new leadership. NCC is situated in the Kriel district, about 35 km outside of eMalahleni.
NCC soon to make a grand re-entrance
Universal Coal’s 49% owned NCC operation, which also includes a signifi cant underground operation (Diepspruit) and undeveloped opencast resource (Middeldrift), has enabled Universal Coal to bring forward the start-up of its adjacent Roodekop mine – which has all the necessary legislative requirements in place to move into development and production. NCC and Roodekop each have their own mining right, environmental right, integrated water use licence, waste use licence and a social and labour plan. Work is underway to integrate the two projects into a single entity (NCC) which would enable the company to capitalise on synergies under a single licence. “We have spent the 2015 year awarding all the necessary…