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Journal of the Southern African Institute of Mining and Metallurgy

On-line version ISSN 2411-9717
Print version ISSN 0038-223X

J. S. Afr. Inst. Min. Metall. vol.110 n.10 Johannesburg Oct. 2010




Thermal coal products in South Africa



M. SteynI; R.C.A. MinnittII

ICoal Exports, Exxaro Coal
IISchool of Mining Engineering, University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa




This article captures the intrinsic differences of thermal coal products, their utilization and their substitution characteristics. South Africa produces approximately 245 million tonnes of coal annually. Eskom consumes 46% (approximately 112 million tonnes), 26% (approximately 65 million tonnes) is exported, and SASOL Synthetic Fuels consumes 18% (approximately 44 million tonnes) and a further 9% (approximately 22 million tonnes) is consumed by domestic users in various different industries. Marketing theory contributes significantly to understanding the importance of technical product and quality appreciation and comprehension, encompassing elements of price, distribution, and promotion. Coal product specification is determined by the inherent geology of a resource and the number of complex actions to market the product to a specific consuming market. Sampling, analyses, beneficiation application, and an array of parameters contribute to matching thermal coal products to the value-in-use it provides to the different markets and its consuming industries. Coal producers have come under increased scrutiny since South Africa has been experiencing electricity shortages since early 2008. General misunderstandings were declared on public forums and in the media by both legislators and the South African public since a perception developed that South African coal producers are exporting coal that could be utilized by Eskom.

Keywords: Thermal coal, multi-seam mining, specifications, beneficiation, marketable coal products, marketing terms, penalties, Standard Coal Trading Agreement, globalCoal



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