One of Optimum
Coal’s operations which
is helping to boost
Glencore’s South
African coal exports
Baar, Switzerland — 06 November 2012 – Global trading giant Glencore International has reported a substantial increase in coal exports from Richards Bay Coal Terminal, signalling that its acquisition of controlling stakes in Optimum Coal and Umcebo have begun to pay off.

BDlive reports that the world’s largest commodities trader said coal production in the third-quarter had jumped 82%, boosted by its new South African operations. Output of the fuel used in power stations at Glencore’s mines had amounted to 9.8Mt in the three months ended 30 September. For the nine months to the end of September, Glencore said export coal volumes had risen to 6.1Mt, up from the 323,000t over the same period last year.

The Swiss-based resources group has been raising its coal assets in South Africa since forming a partnership with Shanduka Coal, a subsidiary of Shanduka Resources, owned by politician-turned-businessman Cyril Ramaphosa.

Its investments include a 64.1% shareholding in Optimum Coal, a 49.99% stake in Shanduka Coal as well as 43.6% of Umcebo, which it recently bought. The local coal acquisitions have increased Glencore’s saleable production to 30Mtpa. The entities have a combined Richards Bay Coal Terminal export allocation of 9.9Mt.

Glencore has a project pipeline in South Africa for which it has earmarked about R7.9 billion in capital expenditure, to develop eight thermal and coking coal operations.

“Work is currently proceeding well on a number of expansion and development projects including Wonderfontein, with its rail siding due to be completed next month, and first coal to be railed shortly thereafter,” the company said.

It added that the Springboklaagte project studies were also progressing on schedule, and that it expected the definitive feasibility study on the properties to be completed by April.

At Optimum, the Pullenshope underground brownfield project is on schedule, with construction due to commence by the end of this year and first coal expected by the second half of next year.

Glencore also expected that licensing for Optimum’s Koornfontein project would be completed by next month, with construction commencing early next year. Studies for the two major longer- term Optimum growth projects were also proceeding as planned, it said.

Source: BDlive. For more information, click here.