Mining Mirror May 2018 - Page 15

Mine excursion The northern pit at Khanye. The mine will have two pits, namely the northern and the southern pit. Richards Bay is substantial, considering the 80 million tonnes of coal that is moved there every year by all the mining houses across South Africa. “With all Canyon Coal’s other projects coming online within the next two years, it is our medium- to long-term objective to get more space allotted to us,” says Clifford Hallatt, mine development and exploration manager at Canyon Coal. Because of the inherent qualities of coal in the Bronkhorstspruit area, Khanye’s product will not be sold to the typical markets. China is mining a sizable percentage of their own coal and is on a renewable drive. The result has been a drop in demand from China as the country commissions new coal operations. The quality of coal exported to India is of course exactly what South African power utility Eskom’s power stations require, with the result that Eskom will increasingly have to compete with countries like India and Pakistan in terms of price. Exposing the seams When Mining Mirror visited the site earlier this year, Canyon Coal’s mining team had already exposed part of the top seam, which is shallow at between 12m and 15m below surface. At that stage, the earthmoving team had already removed between 250 000m³ and 300 000m³ of topsoil to access the coal. In Witbank geological terms, the Khanye top seam would be named seam 3, which is fragmented throughout the reserve. The other two seams at Khanye is known as the number 2 seam, consisting of a 2-upper and 2-lower seam, as well as the number 1 seam. Some geologists refer to it as the top, middle and bottom seams. According to Mark Berger, managing director at Isimilo, a subsidiary of Canyon Coal and the company responsible for the construction of the processing plant, the company is installing a smaller interim plant until the main plant will be completed in September. “The interim plant consists of a crushing plant and a small washing plant, which is a mini version of the main plant. As the coal becomes available, it is crushed, washed, and then a portion of it is blended with the sellable product,” explains Berger. The interim solution’s washing plant is being refurbished and will start washing coal from the stockpiles early in May. “In the interim, we will crush to minus 50mm, so the sellable product will be everything below that. There are two stages of crushing, but the top size is 50mm. The main plant, however, has been designed to be more flexible, and will produce large nuts, small nuts, peas, duff, and everything in between,” says Berger. MAY 2018 MINING MIRROR [13]