Coal of Africa Limited was recently awarded a new order mining right for its Makhado project in Limpopo

Triple-listed Coal of Africa Limited (CoAL) has awarded the optimisation study and front end engineering and design (FEED) package for its Makhado coal project to engineering firm DRA Global’s South African company DRA Projects SA.

The Makhado project is located in the Limpopo Province of South Africa, and is approximately 80 km from CoAL’s existing Vele Colliery.

It is planned that both hard coking coal and thermal coal will be produced from the Makhado project for export and domestic consumption.

Initially the operation will be an opencast mine, with potential for expansion to an underground operation in future years.

DRA’s recent award follows its earlier role on the Makhado project for CoAL in the preparation of the definitive feasibility study of the coal processing and handling facilities, completed in early 2013.

The scope of the optimisation and FEED assignment expands this earlier role by DRA to now include the infrastructure components of the project, and also the integration of the work of a number of specialist consultants.

“It is especially pleasing to be awarded this next phase of the investigation and development of the Makhado coal project. Our early interaction with CoAL began in 2010 with initial studies and the new award is testament to the sound relationship established between our two organisations and our respective project teams,” says DRA CEO Paul Thomson.

He goes on to say that a key requirement of the optimisation study and FEED phase will be the identification of appropriate cost reduction opportunities to help optimise the economics of the project in the current challenging market.

DRA and its key staff have had many years’ experience in the design and delivery of “fit-for-purpose” yet high performance project in coal and other commodities.

“We will apply this experience and skill fully to the Makhado project. We very much look forward to continuing to work closely with CoAL through future phases of the project,” says Thomson.

CoAL’s current plan is that work on the Makhado site will begin during the second quarter of 2016, followed by a 26 month build programme with first coal produced during 2019.

“We are pleased to have DRA on board during the next phase of developing the Makhado project,” says CoAL CEO David Brown, adding that this is an exciting yet crucial phase of the project development. “Being associated with DRA during this period will ensure a successful start to the construction of the Makhado project, Brown notes.

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