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ROM coal production drops at Kangala

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World Coal,

ROM coal production at Universal’s Kangala coal mine was below the planned production target in 4Q15, the company said its latest quarterly report. Output at the mine was 766 522 t for the quarter as the company undertook pit reconfiguration work and pre-stripping to boost pit stability.

The pre-stripping work also allowed the company to expose more mining blocks, giving more flexibility to ramp up production should demand increase in the longer term.

“The reconfiguration-required changes in overburden bench design have resulted in additional overburden being stripped with a subsequent reduction in ROM coal production,” the company said. “The increased capacity of the loading equipment fleet remains onsite until ROM run rates are being consistently achieved.”

Despite this, ROM production at the mine was 12% than the previous quarter, while production for the six months to December 2015 is 34% up on the previous year at 1.5 million t.

The company’s domestic sales fell 9% in the quarter on the back of a brief suspension of supply to Eskom while Universal awaited revised contractual paperwork and intermittent ROM coal supply from Kangala. Domestic sales for 2H15, however, were still up 261% on the previous year at 952 000 t.

Meanwhile, export sales fell 52%, as the occurrence of the export-quality mid-seam coal is erratic in the current mining area of the pit. Export sales for 2H15 totaled 39 000 t – a 117% increase on 2014.

“Tough operating conditions were experienced during the December 2015 quarter at the Kangala colliery with focus placed on the pit reconfiguration and additional stripping activities required for the updated rock mechanical engineering requirements and difficult mining conditions” said Universal’s CEO, Tony Weber. “Through the converted effort of our mining contractor, we are making significant progress towards returning to steady state productions conditions, which are anticipated in the next month or so.”

More positively, Universal said that over ninety local residents had successfully trained to become qualified operators of heavy mining equipment as part of the company’s skills training programme. Forty of these have been appointed as articulated dump truck operators at Kangala with the mine intended to train 100 operators by the end of March 2016.

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