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Universal Coal’s NCC opencast operations to begin in January 2017

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World Coal,

Universal Coal has received sufficient comfort on debt funding, paving the way for Phase 2 opencast operations to commence in January 2017 at the New Clydesdale Colliery (NCC).

The opencast operations represent the second phase of NCC development following the commencement of underground operations in September 2016. The underground operation (Phase 1) delivers primarily export quality thermal coal from the Diepspruit underground area, and is set to achieve nameplate capacity of 900 000 tpy ROM by the end of the current quarter. Opencast operations will deliver a further ~2.0 million tpy ROM of premium quality domestic thermal and low phos metallurgical coal from the adjacent Roodekop pit once steady state is achieved in mid-2017.

Universal's CEO Tony Weber commented: "With comfort on debt funding, we have set a commencement date of January 2017 as the start of the Roodekop opencast operation. We look forward to delivering coal from the opencast operation from early 2017.”

"Our focus is squarely fixed upon ramping up the opencast production at NCC. Once steady state is achieved, Universal and our partners will be delivering in excess of 4 million tpa sales over our two operations, with an excellent pipeline for further organic growth," Weber continued.

Under the interim offtake agreement, NCC delivered first export quality coal sales of 27 710 t in October 2016. The company is pleased to report that November tonnages have increased to 37 000 sales t. Currently two of the three Coal Handling and Preparation Plants (CHPP) are operating, with the third CHPP set to be operational during the first quarter of 2017.

Located in South Africa's premier coal region in the Witbank basin, NCC hosts a JORC 2012 Mineral Resources of 144.7 million t sufficient for over twenty years of operations at the aforementioned steady-state production rates.

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South Africa coal news