Exxaro Resources Ltd. started work on its 3.3 billion South African rand Belfast coal mine in South Africa's Mpumalanga province, Miningmx reported June 29.
The mine is expected to produce 2.7 million tonnes of thermal coal per annum for at least 17 years, starting 2020, under the first phase of its development. Depending upon market conditions, there could be a second phase, which would extend the mine life to 30 years.
In October 2017, the company implemented a five-year CapEx program worth 20 billion rand on seven coal projects in South Africa's Limpopo and Mpumalanga provinces.
It earmarked around 4.8 billion-rand for the GG6 project, part of the Grootegeluk operations, 3.3 billion rand to develop Belfast and 2.8 billion rand for the first phase of the Thabametsi project, among other projects.
Belfast will be a digitized operation, which makes it different from the group's other, older coal mines, said Johan Meyer, Exxaro's executive head of projects and technology.
The mine will employ about 1,000 people during the construction phase, and about 1,000 people will be needed when it reaches full production.
"Jobs will be created through maintenance and other partnerships with a multiplier effect of about seven times," Meyer added.
Exxaro will advertise the jobs internally to rehire workers who were retrenched from the company's other operations, including the shuttered Arnot mine.
Most of the coal production from Belfast will be destined for export markets, but about 500,000 tonnes could also be sold in the local market, Exxaro noted.