Shondoni colliery up and running

Sasol mining’s new Shondoni colliery in Mpumalanga was launched as part of its R14-billion mine replacement programme.

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The ribbon cutting ceremony at the Shondoni colliery in Secunda, Mpumalanga.

Image credit: Dineo Phoshoko

Meaning ‘a place of wealth’, Shondoni replaces Sasol Mining’s Middelbult Colliery, which has reached the end of its lifespan.

Sasol Mining is South Africa’s third largest coal producer and runs one of the world’s largest underground coal-mining complexes. It produces over 40 million tons of coal annually of which more than 90% is used as critical feedstock for the production of Sasol’s high quality synthetic fuels and a wide range of chemicals.

Sasol’s Joint President and CEO, Bongani Nqwababa, said the R14-billion mine replacement programme supports Sasol’s strategy to operate its southern African facilities until 2050. The programme commenced in 2009. “It is also part of our capital expenditure in South Africa which, over the past five years, has amounted to more than R94-billion,” says Nqwababa.

Modern in many respects, distinguishing Shondoni from the rest of Sasol’s other five collieries is the use of renewable energy, which includes the use of solar geysers to heat pumps. The mine also holds the record of having the longest single flight conveyor without an intermediate booster drive in Africa, at 21km.

Senior vice president of Sasol Mining, Lucky Kgatle, says that the mine will produce coal for domestic demand. He adds that Sasol mining placed high priority on a ‘greener, safer, more efficient mining operation’. Over the next 30 years, Shondoni is expected to deliver between 8 and 9Mt of coal a year and currently employs about 1 200 people.

Minister of minerals resources Gwede Mantashe also attended the launch and during his address said that the opening of a new mine increased the productive capacity of South Africa. He also touched on the mining charter, saying that transformation in the mining industry is not a compliance issue. Mantashe also said that it is important for mine workers to receive the recognition they deserved. “It is the workers who convert investment into wealth,” he said.



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