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Optimum coal production soars

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Optimum Coal
Johannesburg, South Africa — MININGREVIEW.COM — 16 September 2010 – South African coal producer Optimum Coal Holdings Limited “’ which listed in March this year “’ says that its attributable production of both domestic and export coal showed sharp increases during the financial year ended 30 June 2010.

Releasing its results here, the company revealed that attributable export coal production had increased by 30% to 5.3Mt during the financial year, while attributable domestic production had risen 17% to 10.8Mt. Some 5.5Mt of Optimum’s coal went to state-owned power utility Eskom.

It added that these output figures include tonnages from the Koornfontein Mine, of which the company took control earlier this year.

Optimum Coal said that, as the fourth largest shareholder at the Richards Bay Coal Terminal and one of South Africa’s largest producers, it was well positioned to benefit from increased demand for thermal coal, both locally and internationally.

The company estimated a run of mine production from Optimum Collieries of between 15 and 16Mt for the current financial year to the end of June 2011, with up to 6Mt going for exports and 5.5Mt to Eskom. Koornfontein Mines was expected to produce up to 1.8Mt of exportable coal and 1.2Mt for Eskom or lower quality inland markets.

The company reported a drop in full-year headline earnings, hit by lower export prices for coal and the stronger rand.

It confirmed headline earnings per share for the year of 29 cents, compared with 506 the previous year. The figure fell below Optimum’s forecast range of 40 to 50 cents because an expected tax benefit did not happen.