May 17, 2020

Coal of Africa and the Makhado Mine project

Dale Benton
2 min
Coal of Africa and the Makhado Mine project
The Makhado mine in the Limpopo Province of South Africa, has been regarded as the “flashpoint for tensions of South Africas pro-coal policies.&rd...

The Makhado mine in the Limpopo Province of South Africa, has been regarded as the “flashpoint for tensions of South Africa’s pro-coal policies.”

Owned by Coal of Africa Ltd, the project clashes with South Africa’s pledge to lower its carbon emissions by 42 percent by 2025, with some critics going as far as to say that things have reached “tipping point.”

Here’s what we know about the Makhado mine project:

The Makhado Project is located in the Makhado Municipality, in the magisterial district  of Vhembe in the Limpopo Province of South Africa. The nearest town, Makhado (Louis Trichardt) is situated 35 km south of the project area, with Musina town located 50km to the north of the project area.

The project will produce hard coking and thermal coal through open cast mining. There are currently 172.73 Mt Run of Mine (ROM) reserves in situ which will be mined over the life of mine of 16 years, expected to be mined at an average rate of 12.6Mtpa ROM. There is the potential for expansion underground. The Reserve and Resource statements have been independently reviewed by Venmyn Deloitte. At steady state production, 2.3mtpa hard coking coal and 3.2mtpa thermal coal will be produced.

This represents CoAL’s first project within the Soutpansberg Coalfield area, with the long-term goal to becoming a significant global coking coal producer.  In 2013, studies demonstrated the project’s ability to produce around 2.3Mt of hard coking coal and 3.2Mt of thermal coal annually.

The Makhado Project benefits from excellent existing infrastructure with respect to rail, road, power and port allocation.

• Electricity supply is being secured from existing Eskom infrastructure

• Accessible via existing road network, the coal will be transported to the domestic and export markets by rail, with access to the national rail network through the construction of a 22km rail loop.

The project is Owned by Coal of Africa Limited (CoAL), a South African publicly listed, emerging developer of hard coking and thermal coal resources.

South Africa currently produces 3.7 percent of the global output of coal. The country itself has around 30 billion tonnes of coal, which equates to more than one hundred years’ supply.

Through construction and operation, more than 60 percent of jobs will be filled by people from the local communities. This will be over 3,000 jobs.

The company will also train and develop over 1,000 people at the Makhado Centre of Learning in workplace readiness programmes, digital training, entrepreneurship training and the reduction of imports, and improvement in balance of payments and more.


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Get in touch with our editor Dale Benton at [email protected]

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May 14, 2021

Copper production from top ten companies to increase by 3.8%

First Quantum
2 min
Following a marginal slump in copper production due to COVID-19, output from top ten companies set to rise up to 3.8% in 2021 reveals GlobalData analysis

Copper production from the world’s top companies is set to increase by up to 3.8% this year, following a fall of 0.2% in 2020, GlobalData analysis reveals. Last year’s marginal slump saw production drop to 11.76 million tonnes (Mt).


The initial impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on mining operations was immense, however, six of the ten largest copper producers succeeded in increasing output last year. In 2021, copper production from the top ten copper companies is expected to bounce back, rising by up to 3.8%, to reach 12.2Mt, according to GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company. 

First Quantum

The highest increase in copper production was by Canada’s First Quantum, which, despite all the challenges, reported 10.4% growth in 2020. The company’s Sentinel mine in Zambia and Cobre Panama were key contributors to this growth. While the latter remained under care and maintenance between April and August 2020, it delivered record production levels during the subsequent months.



Codelco, the world’s largest producer of the red metal used in electric vehicles, also bucked the trend.

Vinneth Bajaj, Associate Project Manager at GlobalData, commented: “Despite Codelco reporting over 3,400 active cases during July 2020, the company achieved 1.2% growth in its production in 2020. The company implemented a four-phase plan, as part of the COVID-19 measures, to ensure the health and safety of its employees, while also avoiding any significant impact to its copper output.” 

Freeport McMoRan

Although the overall impact was minimal, declines in production were observed from Glencore (8.2%), Antofagasta (4.7%), BHP (3.9%) and Freeport McMoRan (1.3%). Reduced operational workforces due to COVID-19 measures, lower ore grades and production halts due to maintenance were the key disruptors to output during 2020.

Electric Vehicles

The move towards electric vehicles and clean energy from renewables sources such as solar panels and wind turbines has driven the copper price to all-time highs. Copper has been among the best performers over the last month where metals ranging from aluminum to iron ore have surged to their highest prices in years. The rally is being fueled by stimulus measures, near-zero interest rates and signs that economies are recovering from the global pandemic. 



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