Pretoria, South Africa — MININGREVIEW.COM — 29 April 2010 – Diversified South African miner Exxaro has confirmed that it expects coal production to match last year’s output at around 45 to 46 million tonnes, while exports are seen to be falling due to rail constraints.
Exxaro coal unit head Mxolisi Mgojo told Reuters in an interview here that coal exports in 2010 might drop from 4.7 million tonnes last year to around 4 million tonnes due to bottlenecks on the rail lines leading to the port.
But he said the company was talking to other firms with allocated space on the rail line to be able to ship more. “We will continue to talk with other players outside to see how we can make up for some of the shortfall that we are experiencing. Whether that will take us to above 4 million tonnes is too early to say,” he added.
The company is also mapping out a public-private partnership with state-owned logistics group Transnet , whereby Exxaro would invest in its own wagons leading to one of its more remote mines in exchange for a higher allocation on the lines to the Richards Bay Coal Terminal (RBCT). The deal, if approved, could raise Exxaro’s export capacity by around 600 000 tonnes and come into force by next year.
Coal exporters have blamed Transnet for failing to rail parts of their coal, especially as the terminal is expanding to accommodate exports of up to 91 million tonnes per year.
Transnet’s rail division said earlier this year that it expected to rail 65 million tonnes of export coal this year and would try to raise that to 70 million tonnes.