SOME RAIL JOY AT LAST
Exxaro is getting some joy from another Government-owned company with which it deals, Transnet Freight Rail (TFR), the freight division of Transnet. According to Mxolisi Mgojo, head of Exxaro’s coal business, volumes on the coal line from the Waterberg is set to increase to 6.5m tons a year from 4m tons/year this year.
“We are beginning to see a c u l mi n a t i o n o f p r o c e s s o f engagement with Transnet and TFR,” said Mgojo. “They [ Transnet] are coming up with st rategy t o unlock t he North West corridor. We have been working very hard with TFR and other critical stakeholders i n saying what sort of structure we can put in place,” he says.
“Physically, on t he ground over next three to four years, the intention is to get to 28m tons/ year on that line. The next loop [expansion of the rail l i ne] will take capacity to 10m tons/year and allow 200 wagon trains to be brought up,” he says.
Providing better infrastructure to the Waterberg i s critical to diversifying Eskom’s access to coal resources especially as i t nears 2018 when many of the l ong- standing contracts expire and new ones have to be signed.
Exxaro is also bullish about its Thabametsi mine, production f rom which i s a modest 3. 8m tons/year but which is expected to build over time. Ernst Venter, executive GM for business growth at Exxaro, says he’s excited about the potential.
“Thabametsi could develop i nto a similar complex as t he Waterberg producing eight different products [of coal],” he says. The mine has an estimated 5bn tons of coal resources. “It’s massive,” says Venter. “We will have to see how we can ratchet up from that.”
Wim de Klerk