Boikarabelo – which means ‘to be responsible’ in the local language – will be a world-class, low-cost, open-cut coal mine. Located within the Waterberg magisterial district of Limpopo province, its mining right extends over approximately 9 018 hectares.
It has a 6.4 billion tonne resource, with probable reserves of 744.8 million tonnes on 35% of the tenements under management and delineated to date. Export and domestic offtake contracts are in place for the mine’s full production for its first seven years and for a significant proportion for the following 30 years.
The Boikarabelo coal seam is between 20 and 30 metres below the surface with an overburden strip ratio of 0.6:1, enabling low-cost, open-cut mining. The seam is between 120 and 130 metres thick, with zones of varying quality thermal and soft coking coal.
The regional topography is flat, easily accessible, and with 16 500 hectares under management, the final construction of the mine and rail link is able to proceed quickly.
The Boikarabelo tenements are only 40 kilometres by road from an existing rail system that provides access to domestic markets and to the ports of Maputo, Richards Bay and Durban for export shipments.
These three ports all have potential to expand their coal capacity, and a proposed new railway to Walvis Bay in Namibia, if constructed, would also offer access to export markets.
Mine planning is completed and the coal handling and preparation plant is already designed.
The shallow overburden means that a small fleet of equipment can produce a large amount of coal. Costs will be relatively low, and multiple mining benches will provide the flexibility to extract the coal quality required. The mine’s operating costs fall within the first quartile of competitors.
We have adopted a low risk execution strategy which involves the appointment of a limited number of EPC contractors with good track records and strong balance sheets, against which there would be the right of recourse in the event of delay or failure. The appointed EPC contractors will be managed by a competent and experienced owner’s team.
In order to expand the economic base of the Boikarabelo project, a bankable feasibility study is being fast-tracked in order to construct a 600MW independent mine-mouth power station to operate as an approved independent power producer (IPP). Environmental and land use approvals have been obtained for a 300MW IPP and are in the process of revision to accommodate a 600MW IPP. The IPP will provide significant optionality with regard to domestic coal production and an additional revenue stream.
The project would also transit Resgen from the coal sector to the energy sector. Supply agreements with both the public and private sectors are being explored.