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Keaton keen to return to profit

Vanggatfontein mine
“’ expansion underway
Johannesburg, South Africa — 03 December 2012 – Keaton Energy will focus on returning its thermal and anthracite coal mining operations to profit as it eyes an improvement in production, said CEO Mandi Glad after the coal miner released its interim results for the six months ended 30 September.

“The focus for us at the moment is to extend the life of mine at Vaalkrantz and to improve production at Vanggatfontein,” she added.

BDlive reports that the JSE-listed junior miner is expanding Vanggatfontein, which supplies thermal coal to Eskom, as existing pits near depletion. Glad said the miner had also invested in new equipment used to improve underground mining at the Vaalkrantz colliery in KwaZulu-Natal, which had been beset by geological disruptions.

Production rose 183% to 1.8Mt of coal for the six months to September, compared with the year earlier. Losses were R64.2 million during the interim, from the R8.4 million profit reported during the previous year.

“The main factors behind the losses was the introduction of the new accounting reporting standards, the underperformance of mining contractor Megacube, as well as the geological challenges at Vaalkrantz,” she explained.

Glad said Keaton was confident it could defend the R42.5 million claim lodged by Megacube, a subsidiary of Sentula Mining, after the cancellation of its contract.

Revenue increased to R417.3 million from R117.7 million‚ boosted by the ramp-up in sales to Eskom and inclusion of the six months of sales from Leeuw Mining and Exploration, acquired in February last year. This acquisition has given the company exposure to the Brazilian market, to which it will supply metallurgical coal used in the production of iron-ore pellets.

Keaton has two other growth projects in the pipeline, namely Braakfontein and Sterkfontein, and Glad revealed that the miner expected studies on the properties to be completed before the end of the year.

Source: BDlive. For more information, click here.