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Refurbishment of Vunene Mining


In November 2014, Mindset was contracted to provide management consulting services to South African based coal mining company Vunene Mining (74 % owned by IchorCoal) to assist with the refurbishment of the Usutu colliery in the Ermelo coalfield of Mpumalanga which is about 200 km southeast of Johannesburg.

Usutu (operated as an underground operation) supplied state owned power utility Eskom’s nearby Camden power station which was placed under care and maintenance in 1990. Camden was recommissioned under Eskom’s ‘return to service’ programme from 2006 to 2008 when a number of mothballed power stations were brought back to service. An area identified as economical to be mined by opencast truck and shovel mining method was established by Vunene for their initial supply of coal to the Camden Power Station.

This move prompted Vunene Mining to begin the process of re-establishing and refurbishing its historic Usutu West mine (which produced on average 450 000 tonnes per month of thermal coal in its heyday from three underground complexes).

The refurbishment process was divided into two phases. Mindset was contracted to provide its services as the owner’s representative / project manager providing an on-site team from the tendering phase right up to the commissioning of the fully refurbished underground mine. The services rendered included:

Phase 1 of the refurbishment (completed in November 2015) culminated in the successful establishment of the first production section of the underground mine and was realised when Usutu achieved its first underground blast in February 2016 producing first coal in March. This paved way for Vunene to begin ramping up production at the colliery to an average estimate of 1.6 Million tonnes per annum by the last quarter of 2018, with the aim being to replace production from the opencast mining blocks with that of the underground mine.

View the full article on; https://www.miningreview.com/magazine_articles/coals-comeback-consultancy-helps-breathe-new-life-historic-coal-mine/