South African coal miner and distributor Wescoal reported on Wednesday that the ramp-up of its flagship Elandspruit project in Mpumalanga is on track and on budget.

Since the granting of its water-use license at the end of March 2015, the Elandspruit project has steadily progressed to soon reach its planned production rate of 170 000 tpm of run of mine (RoM) ore.

Elandspruit RoM has been successfully transported and fed into the nearby Wescoal processing plant since July. The plant has responded as expected and the beneficiated product has met expectations.

“The mining team has performed exceptionally well, given current challenges in the industry and the fact that the project has to date been funded from operating cash flows,” says Wescoal acting CEO Waheed Sulaiman.

He added that the ramp up period has been well managed and RoM production has increased steadily since July. “The Elandspruit project is living up to expectations of being a catalyst for Wescoal’s growth and we are on track to reach our target of 170 000 tpm of RoM well before the end of the calendar year,” he said.

To date, Elandspruit’s development progress includes the completion of the mine design and the identification of preferred service providers; the commencement of site establishment activities and first blast; and the first coal has been removed from the box cut, delivered to a dedicated RoM stockpile, and sent to the processing plant and non-Eskom customers.

During August Elandspruit produced approximately 83 000 t of RoM, which was then successfully beneficiated at the processing plant and during the first week of September, the company concluded a coal supply agreement with Eskom to supply a total of 221 000 tons to the utility during September and October.

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