Belfast Implementation

A R3.3bn high value-add project and first-of-its-kind digital mine in Mpumalanga, strategically aligned to bolster the coal business and Exxaro’s position

Belfast Implementation

Exxaro’s new Belfast Coal Mine is already producing high-grade thermal coal, six months ahead of schedule. The mine was only expected to start producing coal in 2020, after breaking ground in July 2018. Construction began in November 2017.

The R3.3bn Belfast project, and first-of-its-kind digital mine, centre on the last A-grade, high-yield coal deposit in Mpumalanga. The project is being treated as an opportunity to show the progress of digitalisation in mining, create jobs, upskill employees, promote sustainability and further develop Exxaro’s solid reputation.

The LOM (Life of Mine) of the Belfast mine is 17 years – for the first phase – making it a high value-add coal project in the Mpumalanga region, and greater South Africa as it bolsters the local coal business. A potential second phase could take Belfast’s LOM to 30 years.

The Belfast plant will primarily produce A-grade, export-quality coal (typical 6,000 kcal/kg) at a projected volume of 2.2 million tonnes per annum (MTPA), and a secondary-quality product (typical 21.5 MJ/kg) for local use or export of approximately 0.5 MTPA.

Over 20 years in development, Belfast Coal is a digital and connected mine, pushing boundaries towards real-time decision making and productivity improvement through remote monitoring and tracking of all devices and performance data. The project has achieved 4.6 million lost time injury (LTI) free hours to date. 

With the strong focus on benefitting the community of Nkangala District Municipality in Mpumalanga, over 6,000 direct and indirect jobs were created during construction, seeing almost 20,000 people benefitting. The project is expected to contribute R39bn to local GDP over the life of the mine, with the district’s GDP gaining an estimated R2.1bn per annum, including R966 million – a full 1% increase – of a direct impact on the municipality.