|Aerial view of Exxaro’s Grootegeluk coal complex in South Africa. Heavy rains in March reduced coal output by 30%, according to the company, but production has since returned to normal.|
Exxaro reported that its Grootegeluk mine in South Africa was impacted by the higher than normal, heavy rains experienced in early March. Production fell to 70% of normal levels by mid-March during the worst of the rains, however, since then production has steadily increased and returned to normal.
There has been no material impact on the supply of coal to the Matimba power station, nor to other customers, including the export market. This is due to the availability of sufficient stockpiles, which were used.
The lowest benches remain flooded and this is being treated as the mine’s pit sump. Production of the full suite of Grootegeluk products is currently taking place from higher benches.
The water remaining in the pit is being used as processing water in the beneficiation plant. This has negated the need for the mine to draw raw water from its normal source, the Mokolo Dam.
The Grootegeluk mine is situated in a low rainfall area of the country and accumulating water in the pit sump forms part of the normal operating practice, thereby reducing raw water consumption from the Mokolo Dam. The amount of rain received in March, however, with a peak downpour of 230 mm in a single day, exceeds the 1:50 year flood designs and, therefore, led to flooding of the pit bottom. Sound water and flood controls enabled the operation to return to the production levels of 70% soon after the rains and thereafter to the normal production levels being achieved now.