TMIC Sasol HQ-minSouth African coal operator, Sasol, recently reported that mining productivity for H2 2023 was 6% higher than the same period in 2022, and Secunda Collieries’ productivity was 5% higher. “Although we have seen an improvement in productivity rates since the implementation of our ‘full potential program,’ we experienced a challenging [Q4 2023] where productivity declined by 8% compared to [Q3 2023],” the company said. “The lower productivity was attributable to safety related incidents and operational challenges, including more difficult geological conditions than expected and delays in availability of mechanical spares for infrastructure maintenance. The latter was especially prevalent in the month of December 2023. This resulted in a total loss in production of approximately 394,000 metric tons (mt).”

Phase two of the full potential program started at Shondoni Colliery in [Q3 2023] and Thubelisha Colliery in [Q4 2023]. “We continue to focus on complex-wide initiatives to improve cutting time, minimize production losses and actively evaluate operational factors to improve coal quality,” the company said.

The coal stockpile at the Secunda Operations (SO) was 1.9 million mt at the end of 2023. An external coal purchasing program to supplement production continues to help meet SO coal volume and quality requirements. “Our Integrated Coal Quality Management Center has been operational since October 1, 2023, and as a result we have seen some improvement in coal quality supplied to SO by monitoring and managing variabilities,” the company said. “However, this was not sufficient to mitigate the lower production in Q2 FY24 which negatively impacted coal quality with reduced blending capability. We continue to progress towards a final investment decision later in CY24 in relation to a destoning solution to improve coal quality.”

Export sales improved in H2 2023 by 16% compared to the prior year driven by increased productivity at Thubelisha Colliery and lower volume of product diverted to SO market.