Swaziland
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FIVE SECTORS TO BENEFIT FROM FRONTIER COAL DEAL

MBABANE - Five sectors stand to benefit from opportunities in New Frontier Coal mine deal.

More than 20 procurement opportunities have been availed for local businesses, with construction works topping the pile, there are over 12 construction projects expected to be availed to the public as part of mining works. These include the construction of a diesel storage facility, mine offices, dump areas and more as outlined in their environmental assessment report. New Frontier Coal Investments (Pty) Ltd, a subsidiary of Sub-Saharan Energy (Pty) Ltd, has been awarded a 25-year mining lease, to mine for anthracite in Mhlume on farms 4/94, R/94, 27/94 and R/1/860. The mining lease for the project will extend over these areas, but the actual mine access point will be limited to a 1 992-hectare piece of land to be sublet from the current leaseholder, Royal Eswatini Sugar Corporation (RESCorp). The proposed mining site is accessed through MR24 (Maphiveni-Tshaneni) Road.

Operation

This will be a small-scale underground mining operation, with the anthracite seam depth starting at approximately 25 meters deep and then steadily increasing in depth from west to east at a 5-7-degree dip. The deepest part of the mining operation, on the far eastern side of the reserve, is approximately 190 meters deep. Worth noting, New Frontier invested E200 million with 200 job opportunities to be created in the new coal mine, which will start operations in the first quarter of next year. According to the mine’s Managing Director (MD), Peter Grey, the initial investment required to reach a steady state will be between E160 and E200 million.

The MD said there would be equipment on top of that investment package that was still to be acquired. Grey said that after a thorough process and the necessary approvals following the prospecting confirmations, the company had been granted a mining licence to mine anthracite near Mhlume.
He stated that some regulatory steps remained to be completed, including the necessary social, community and environmental impact assessments.

Excess

The MD mentioned that the company anticipated creating an excess of 200 jobs once the mine starts operations, as the management would be investing a significant amount of capital to achieve this initiative. Grey added that his company was committed to working with the relevant stakeholders in the area to ensure that the mine was beneficial to the community. “In addition, we can also confirm that the mine will have a small footprint on the surface as it will be a small underground mine. “We will be able to make the exact announcements once we have concluded all consultations and regulatory requirements,” he said.

Last year in December, the company’s management met with stakeholders who would be affected by the project during the environmental and social impact assessment deliberations to hear concerns and objections ahead of the commencement of the project. According to the project coordinator, Nozwelakhe Mamba, the new coal mine has completed the prospecting process, and the scope of this exercise is to get input from the people who will be affected by the project.

Project

The coordinator said the project would contribute immensely to job creation and to the country’s economy. She further stated that more information about the project would be divulged at a later stage. Chairman of the Minerals Management Board Prince Guduza said the company’s management will be introduced to the chiefs of communities around the affected areas this week.The chairman said the company had already been granted the mining licence.

He said the company was still finalising some working logistics, including the planning process and resources to be channelled towards the project.
“The company will mine coal and process it here, before exporting it. We will be introducing the management to the chiefs this week. Other issues pertaining to the project will be discussed during the official introduction process of the investors,” the prince said. On the other hand, Chief Mining Engineer Robert Biyela said the issue of the mining licence for LURCO Coal Eswatini was still being finalised by the Minerals Management Board.
“The issue of LURCO Coal Eswatini is at an advanced stage at the Minerals Management Board. Everything is going accordingly,” he said.
Biyela said next month, New Frontiers Coal Investment will be formally introduced to the stakeholders, including the Royal Eswatini Sugar (RES) Corporation and the surrounding communities.