Continental Coal has officially opened the R351-million Penumbra underground coal mine in Ermelo, Mpumalanga.At a media event hosted at the mine, Continental Coal CEO Don Turvey revealed that Penumbra had broken the 50 000 t/m coal production barrier and was expecting another eleven years of export coal supply at the production rate of 70 000 tonnes per month at an average yield of 64.3%.

Penumbra is mining the C lower seam at an average depth of 85 m and average seam thickness of 1.8 m. The mine operates a closed water circuit using the reverse osmoses system to provide all the industrial and potable water requirements.

The mine is ventilated via the two decline roadways and the upcast air is exhausted through a single 3.6m diameter and 57m deep vertical shaft. There are two fans on the surface capable of extracting 160m3/s of air. The shaft conveyor, with a width of 1,050mm, tips onto a 1,200 tonne stockpile on the surface and the coal is transported by trucks to the Delta wash plant 2,6km away.

The ASX– and AIM-listed group is in the process of being listed on the JSE as well, Turvey revealed at the event. “We’re quite advanced in talking to parties interested in restructuring and refinancing those notes. That will also expand our investor base and make it more institutional, which is critical for us.”

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