Fourteen months after being halted by the South African departments of water and environment, Coal of Africa's Vele mine has begun shipping its first coal.
The London-listed company (CZA) said the first shipment from the Vele Colliery in Limpopo Province, about 1400 tonnes of thermal coal, is destined for Maputo, Mozambique, where it will be trans-shipped to Asian markets.
Fin24 reports the start-up was a considerable achievement considering the regulatory hurdles that CoAL had to go through. The mine, located in an environmentally sensitive area, is the first to comply with a new law, the National Environmental Management Act. CoAL was also obliged to give outside parties the right to decide environmental management of the mine:
To that end CoAL entered into an agreement with the Department of Environmental Affairs and with South African National Parks (SANparks) to ensure that the neighbouring Mapungubwe World Heritage Site remains protected.
The agreement obliges CoAL to establish an independent environmental management committee chaired by SANparks, and on which non-governmental organisations also have a seat.
Fin24 reports the mine is being operated at the same time as it is being rehabilitated, while the pit size must remain under 50 hectares.
In its first phase of production, Vele is expected to produce 2.7Mtpa run of mine coal yielding about 1Mtpa of metallurgical coal.