Belfast Implementation

A R3,3bn project that represents the last sizeable high value-add coal project

Belfast Implementation



  • Location: 10km southwest of Belfast in Mpumalanga.
  • Mineral Resource: 133Mt in Situ. Mineral Reserve: 46Mt.
  • Product Description/ Quality: A-grade steam export product and middling product (to potentially Eskom or export).
  • Current Project Phase: Implementation (Execution).
  • Estimated Size of Operation: 3 Mtpa ROM, 16 years LOM for the Phase 1 operation (subject of this profile).
  • Estimated Production Start: 2H19 (delayed due to pending rezoning appeal).


Brief Description of Business Case that supports the project


The project is potentially the last sizeable high value-add coal project that Exxaro has in the Mpumalanga region and presents an excellent opportunity to grow the coal business. The project is strategically aligned to ensure Exxaro’s sustainability, protect and build Exxaro’s reputation, and improve Exxaro’s portfolio. The project's Phase 1 operations will support the Exxaro vision by producing A-grade thermal coal exports and low-grade (Eskom or export) coal for a period of 16 years post-handover to operations.


Status of Surface Rights


Materially all the surface rights required by the Belfast project have been successfully acquired. The Resettlement Action Plan (RAP) required for the physical relocation of affected households and graves, is completed. The SAHRA permit to relocate the affected graves was authorised in May 2016. Execution of the RAP is scheduled to commence by 2H16 and will complete by 2H17.


Status of Mining Rights


The mining right was executed in October 2013. 


Status of Environmental Approval


  • EMP approved (Oct 2013). Exxaro’s response to an appeal against the approved EMP was submitted during March 2015 and is still being assessed by the DMR. This appeal however does not suspend the EMP authorisation.   
  • EIA approved (Jul 2013). An appeal against the environmental authorisation has been set aside in August 2016.
  • WUL approved (Sep 2014). The authorisation was then unfortunately suspended due to an appeal. However the suspension has been uplifted by the Minister DWS in July 2016.
  • Rezoning approved (Jul 2016). The objector to the application process has since notified the Nkangala District Municipality of its intent to appeal. The pending appeal process is expected to commence in Sep 2016 and could cause a project delay of 12 – 14 months. The Exxaro teams are working hard to mitigate this potential risk and curb project delays.
  • Great progress has been made by Exxaro over the last 6 months in obtaining authorisations for the grave relocations, water use license, and land rezoning. 


Brief explanation of Process Configuration


A new two-stage, 500 tph dense medium separation (DMS) plant will be established to process and prepare the coal. The plant will also include a fines DMS and filter section.


Brief explanation of Product Configuration


The plant will produce a primary A-grade (typical 6000 kcal/kg) export product at approximately 2.2 Mtpa and a secondary (typical 21.5 MJ/kg) Eskom or export product at approximately 0.5 Mtpa. Plant flexibility exists to produce a B-grade export product (< 5850 kcal/kg).


Production Ramp-up


Full production will be achieved approximately one (1) year after production start-up, i.e. 2H20.




The export product will be transported to the to-be-built new Rietkuil siding by road over a distance of approximately 32 km (very similar to the distance between the old Exxaro Inyanda mine and Blackhill siding). The export product will then be railed to Richard Bay Coal Terminal (RBCT). The secondary product can be sold to Eskom or also exported.


Project schedule


  • Board approval to implement: June 2014;
  • Detail design phase: June 2014 – 4Q15 (now complete);
  • Licenses to operate (mining & plant): 1H17 (delayed by pending rezoning appeal);
  • Full Construction: 2H17 – 2H19;
  • Start of mining (box cuts): 1H19;
  • Plant commissioning complete: 2H19;
  • Production handover to operations: 2H19;
  • Ramp-up complete: 2H20.


Capex schedule


The project start-up capital requirement, in nominal terms, for the Belfast project amounts to R3.1 billion. Forecasted cash flow (in nominal terms) for the project:

Belfast Capex Schedule