South Africa's Minister of Mineral Resources, Gwede Mantashe (centre), at the inauguration of Shondoni colliery

Sasol has inaugurated its new Shondoni colliery in Mpumalanga as part of its R14 billion mine replacement programme. Meaning “a place of wealth”, Shondoni replaces Middelbult Colliery, which has reached the end of its lifespan.

Sasol Mining is South Africa’s third largest coal producer and runs one of the world’s largest underground coal-mining complexes.

It produces over 40 Mt of coal annually of which more than 90% is used as critical feedstock for the production of Sasol’s high quality synthetic fuels and a wide range of chemicals.

The company’s president and CEO, Bongani Nqwababa, says the R14 billion mine replacement programme supports Sasol’s strategy to operate its southern African facilities until 2050. The programme commenced in 2009.

“It is also part of our capital expenditure in South Africa which, over the last five years, has amounted to more than R94 billion,” says Nqwababa.

Modern in many respects, distinguishing Shondoni from the rest of Sasol’s other five collieries is the use of renewable energy, which includes the use of solar geysers to heat pumps.

The mine also holds the record of having the longest single flight conveyor without an intermediate booster drive in Africa, at 21 km.

Over the next 30 years, it is expected to deliver between 8 and 9 Mt of coal per annum and currently employs about 1 200 people.