ASX-listed Universal Coal has announced plans to develop its second coal operation following the granting of the integrated water use licence at its 74% owned Roodekop project, located in the Witbank coalfield of South Africa.

With the granting of the water licence, Roodekop has all the necessary approvals in place to commence development.  As Roodekop is located adjacent to the New Clydesdale Colliery (NCC), which Universal Coal is set to acquire, mining activities will be fast tracked to commence before year-end.

In addition, the Proved Reserve estimate at Roodekop was increased by 13% to 10.6 million tonnes (Mt), following a 48-hole drilling programme completed over the Open-pit Area in 2013. Roodekop has total resources of 84.36 Mt.

Integration of the NCC and Roodekop geological data is progressing and an updated Resource and Reserve estimate for the combined NCC Roodekop project is scheduled for completion in Q12015.

Project financing is well advanced, with the company recently agreeing to a funding package with international coal company IchorCoal NV and major shareholder Coal Development Holding BV which will result in a strategic investment of $25.5 million.

“With our Kangala mine operating at steady state and delivering to schedule, we are delighted to now have all the licences in place to commence development of our export-focused project, Roodekop,”said Universal Coal’s CEO Tony Weber.

“Once the acquisition of NCC is completed, we will operate NCC and Roodekop as one complex, taking advantage of the natural synergies in place.  In essence, the combined NCC Roodekop contains sufficient coal resources to support the installed 2.0Mtpa processing capacity at NCC for the foreseeable future, with a significant proportion of production able to be beneficiated for the export market. The development of NCC Roodekop brings Universal Coal one step closer to becoming a mid-tier coal producer, already having installed processing capacity of 6.25Mtpa and the coal resources and development initiatives in place to nearly double the current 2.4Mtpa ROM production in the short term.”

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