The South African coal mining sector, which employs more than 92,000 people, produced 254.3 million tons of coal, in 2019 and exported 78.6 million tons, with the combined value of local sales and exports totalling R139.3bn. The impact of the coronavirus pandemic on coal supply and demand, low economic growth in export markets, and growing international opposition to coal mining and coal-fired power generation because of environmental concerns, are some of the challenges faced by the coal mining sector.
Lockdown Challenges: The lockdown caused local demand to decrease, with some coal producers also selling exportable coal domestically because of low export prices. This caused an oversupply of coal in the local market which pushed prices down. Under lockdown regulations, mines supplying coal to Eskom were allowed to operate normally, while other coal producers had to place their operations on care and maintenance in the first phase of lockdown, and then resume operations incrementally.
Coal for Energy: More than 70% of South Africa’s primary energy needs, from electricity generation to steel production and brickmaking, were provided by coal in 2019. Thermal coal, or steam coal, is mainly used in electricity generation, while metallurgical coal is mostly used in steel production. In the latest Integrated Resource Plan, coal will be used to provide 59% of South Africa’s electricity generating capacity by 2030.
Report Coverage: This report focuses on the South African coal mining sector and coal testing laboratories, and includes comprehensive information on the state and size of the sector, production and trade statistics and notable developments. There are profiles of 47 companies including the six major local coal producers, Anglo, Exxaro Resources, Glencore, Sasol, Seriti Resources and South32. Other profiles include Wescoal and Kuyasa Mining and companies involved in testing such as Noko Analytical Services and Intertek.