The Phalanndwa Colliery coal mine in Mpumalanga has committed to uplifting the community of the Victor Khanye Municipality where it is situated by employing 82% of local residents at mine. The mine also has 198 of subcontractors who are also local, bringing the number to a total of 286.

The mine which falls under the Canyon Coal group of companies started operating less than ten years ago. The mine’s General Manager Alan Mabbet said that the Phalanndwa mine currently produces about 60 000 tons of coal per month. Of their produce, about 85% is headed for the international market.

The manager said that the life of the mine was about 8 months left which is to be reached next year around.

However the company is awaiting extension which would give it more years. “with the extension as I have mentioned it would give us another eight years from there.” He said. There is basically 3000 people benefiting from the Phalanndwa mine, excluding all the local service providers, procurement and businesses and any other projects that benefit from the mine.

The Phalanndwa mine being an open cast mine , the coal was not so deep to access and extract. According to the Manager, financially it was ‘quite attractive’ in terms of the strip ration, referring to the volumes of the waste and the topsoil that needs to be removed to get to the coal.

The future of coal mining in SA

Canyon coal is optimistic of the future of coal mining and continues to explore mining opportunities across the country which highlights the positives of the possible future of coal mining in the country. South Africa needs coal power to offer an alternative affordable source of energy. Over 70% of the country’s primary energy needs is provided by coal energy.

Canyon coal hopes to start operating a new mine in Springs in Gauteng next year.

By Vutomi Shivulane

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