ASX-listed coal company Ikwezi Mining has been granted an Integrated Water Use Licence (IWUL) for its Ntendeka Colliery by the Department of Water Affairs of South Africa, which the company pointed out that the granting puts the regulatory framework in place to enable it to complete construction of the water supply system to the Ntendeka Colliery wash plant.The granting of the IWUL is an important milestone in bringing the Ntendeka Colliery into operation says Ikwezi Mining’s MD David Pile. An IWUL is also a requirement in South Africa to commence mining activities. Ikwezi Mining is focused on the exploration and development of coal projects in South Africa and has a 70% stake in the Ntendeka Colliery in Newcastle as well as a 60% interest in the Dundee, Acorn and Assegai projects, which are located in the KwaZulu-Natal coal fields. These assets have an existing joint ore reserves committee compliant resource of approximately 221 Mt and is in close proximity to rail and port infrastructure. Ikwezi Mining announced recently that it has entered into a rail agreement with Transnet Freight Rail further to its commitment to provide the Ntendeka Colliery with 1.5 Mtpa rail capacity to either the port of Durban or Richards Bay. The company has also been offered port capacity at both Durban and the Navitrade facility at Richards Bay for which it intends to finalise the contracts shortly.
Meanwhile, the company advised that water for the Ntendeka Colliery will be sourced from the old underground Ngagane Colliery workings approximately 6 km from the operation’s wash plant. “We have designed the Ntendeka Colliery using industry leading technology to conserve and recycle as much water as possible to minimise the impact on available water supplies in the area,” explains Pile.The water from the old Ngagane Colliery workings will be processed through a Dissolved Air Flotation (DAF) plant to bring it to an industrial standard before use by operations, while a potable water treatment plant will also be built to supply the operation with its potable water requirements. The company said that in its efforts to further reduce water use, additional capital has been spent on the coal wash plant through the inclusion of filter presses, resulting in the discard from the wash plant being dry rather than the normal slurry dams utilised by most processing facilities. Stefanutti Stocks Mining Services (SSMS) has been contracted to undertake all opencast mining operations at the Ntendeka Colliery including providing all opencast mining equipment which Ikwezi says would provide the company with certainty as to production volumes and qualities, which together with the offtake agreement to coal trader Vitol, provides a strong platform for the company to move forward into production. Ikwezi revealed that remaining construction activities at the colliery together with the commencement of mining are dependent on the finalisation of the companys finance facility which is progressing well.