Two Provinces that mainly Mine Coal in South Africa: South Africa’s coal reserves are ranked amongst the top 10 largest in the world. The country‘s economy is extremely dependent on coal fired power production, which provides almost three quarters of total primary energy. Despite the country’s attempts at diversifying energy, coal is expected to play a major role in the foreseeable future.

The background of Coal Mining in South Africa

South Africa produces in excess of 255 million tonnes of coal (2011 estimate) and consumes almost three-quarters of that domestically. As of 2018, South Africa was the seventh-largest producer and consumer of coal in the world. This large industry means that as of 2015 about 80,000 workers, or .5% of total employment, was from the coal industry, down from a peak in 1981 of 135,000 workers.

Around 77% of South Africa’s energy needs are directly derived from coal. South Africa is the 5th largest exporter of coal in the world, with 30% consumed overseas. 92% of coal consumed on the African continent is produced in South Africa. 80% of South Africa’s CO2 emissions come from the energy supply which is dependent on coal, which produced the vast majority of the country’s energy, or 42GWs.

The use of coal in South Africa dates back to the Iron Age (300–1880 AD), when charcoal was used to melt iron and copper, but large-scale exploitation of coal did not occur until the mid-19th century.

What is the biggest coal mine in South Africa

In South Africa, there are two of the biggest coal mining projects (surface mining operations) at the Mafube Colliery and the New Largo Project.

No 1: The Mafube Colliery

  • produces 1.1 million tons of coal per year
  • supplies the Arnot Power Station in Mpumalanga
  • worth ZAR 16 billion over its lifespan

No 2: The New Largo Project is the second-largest coal operation:

  • geared to produce around 15 million tons of coal per year
  • supplies the Kusile Power Station, roughly 25km from eMalahleni
  • valued at around ZAR 11 billion

Two Provinces that mainly Mine Coal in South Africa

  • No 1: Mpumalanga Province
  • No 2: Limpopo Province

South Africa’s coal mining occurs mainly within the Mpumalanga Province, which produces some 81% of the country’s total output. Limpopo Province with 11%, Free State Province with 6%, and Kwazulu-Natal Province with 2% provide the rest

Types of coal in South Africa

Bituminous coal

96% of reserves are bituminous coal;

Metallurgical coal

Metallurgical coal accounts for approximately 2%

Anthracite coal

Anthracite another 2%

Two environmental problems resulting from coal mining in South Africa

The environmental impacts of coal mining in South Africa are reviewed. … Coal washing gives rises to large waste dumps, which causes:

#1 Air pollution.

#2 Water pollution


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