While Wescoal’s origins lie in coal trading, it was incorporated in 1996 under the Chandler name to purchase the coal trading business and other assets of the Chandler family. The Mining division is today the bigger part of the company, accounting for 63% of revenues and 86% of earnings as at 31 March 2019. The Trading division nevertheless remains an important contributor to Wescoal and ranks as one of the leading coal distributors in South Africa.
The Elandspruit Mine is located eight kilometers (“km”) west of the town Middelburg with location 25.80982°S latitude and 29.38474°E longitude. The site is approximately 200km from Johannesburg. It comprises of portions of the farm Elandspruit 291 JS. The Department of Water and Sanitation (DWS) awarded a WUL to Elandspruit in May 2015 allowing for development of the mine under all the necessary compliance requirements. As previously reported mining commenced during July 2015 and full planned production was achieved in October 2015. Since then, additional box-cuts were opened and the mine currently produces more than 210 000 tonnes from the opencast area.
Elandspruit Colliery – Lost time injury frequency rate of 0.33 (FY20: 0.19) with zero fatalities (FY20: zero).
Khanyisa Complex Colliery
The Khanyisa Complex comprises the previous Khanyisa mining area, the Catwalk and the Tri-Angle. The complex is located some 10km west of Ogies in Mpumalanga.
It comprises portions of the farm Heuvelfontein 215 IR. The location of the complex is 26.042950°S latitude and 28.973325°E longitude. The process of consolidation of the Khanyisa Mining Complex has been completed. A Water Use Licence (WUL) for the total integrated area was awarded 13 May 16.
An amended mining right was granted in May 2017. Wescoal now owns 100% of the Triangle area after acquiring the 65% that was previously owned by UJU Resource Proprietary Limited resources. Initiatives are being pursued in order to extend the LOM of Khanyisa Complex to beyond 2021.
Khanyisa Complex Colliery – LTIFR of 0.49 (FY20: 0.66) with zero fatalities (FY20: zero).
The Vanggatfontein Colliery is an opencast coal mining operation, 100% owned by Wescoal and situated in the Witbank Coalfield of South Africa. The Colliery mines the No. 5, No. 4 and No. 2 seams using truck and shovel rollover mining methods at an average rate of 340 000tpm run of mine (“ROM”). The No. 5 seam is processed through a 100t/h plant for domestic metallurgical and boiler markets (No. 5 seam plant), whilst the No. 4 and No. 2 seams are processed through a 500t/h plant which produces thermal coal for Eskom.
Vanggatfontein Colliery – LTIFR of 0.48 (FY20: 0.22) with zero fatalities (FY20: one fatality).
The total area of land disturbed is 356 hectares and the mine is not within nor adjacent to protected areas or areas of high biodiversity. Biodiversity management plans are therefore not considered necessary. Five bio-monitoring sites on the Wilge River and its tributaries are monitored during the wet and dry seasons. Blast vibration and noise monitoring are also conducted on a regular basis.
Fugitive dust at the Vanggatfontein Colliery is monitored at various locations to ensure compliance with applicable legislation. It has a weather station to assist in determining the sources of fugitive dust by correlating trend analysis with weather conditions. It also provides an early warning of large storms and high winds.
The quality of both ground and surface water is regularly monitored and the mine does not discharge any dirty water into the environment. Twenty-five boreholes are sampled on a monthly basis and test quality quarterly. Sixteen surface water sites are also sampled quarterly for quality.
Recycling of consumable waste has been limited to scrap metal and used oils. Processing waste is produced during the beneficiation of coal. Processing plant fine coal discard, or slurry, has for many years been stored in purpose-built Tailings Storage Facilities (TSFs) or co-disposal facilities. Slurry is used in the brickmaking industry and discard is used for briquettes in the domestic heating and industrial boiler industries.
On 28 February 2019, the company announced to shareholders that its wholly-owned subsidiary, Wescoal Mining Proprietary Limited, had entered into agreements with Innovators Resources Proprietary Limited to acquire from Exxaro Coal Mpumalanga Proprietary Limited, for no consideration and on a voetstoots basis, the business operated out of the Arnot coal mine in Mpumalanga.
Arnot Mine opencast and underground sections are set to contribute 190 million tonnes coal resource to the group (on 100% basis). The mine will produce coal exclusively for the adjacent Eskom Arnot power station at a cost-competitive advantage. The competent person’s report confirmed reserves of 13 million tonnes in the initial mining sections and a total reserve of 190 million tonnes. Former HDSA miners are to be re-employed and empowered with 50% ownership of the mine.
Wescoal Processing is the primary coal processing facility for Elandspruit Mine. The plant was purchased from Muhanga in 2014 and is regularly upgraded to meet customers’ product quality and quantity requirements. The combined installed ROM treatment capacity is currently proven to be more than 200 000 tonnes a month.
The upgrades to the raw coal handling section enable more than 250 000 tonnes a month to be crushed. The complex consists of a crushing section and drum/cyclone and fines treatment plants that can produce a range of products to meet the demands of Eskom, other domestic consumers and the export market.
Wescoal’s strategy to diversify its income streams has placed the group in a better position to meet Eskom’s increased demand as well as to optimise supply into other domestic and export customers.