Over 80% of South Africa's saleable coal is produced by five prominent coal mining companies, namely:
Of these major coal mining companies, BHP Billiton is one of Eskom’s biggest suppliers, and one of the largest suppliers to the seaborne energy coal market. Anglo American's coal business owns and operates nine mines, and is currently working on several projects aimed at boosting output to 90 million tons per annum, while of the top five coal mining companies, Xstrata Coal is South Africa's third largest coal exporter.
Formerly part of Kumba Resources and now merged with Eyesizwe Coal and Namakwa Sands, Exxaro is among the most diversified coal mining companies. It currently has several Greenfield and expansion projects under way, including a coal mine in the Waterberg field that will supply between 13 and 15 million tons of coal per year for export, and a proposed 1,200 MW coal-fired power station, near Lephalale in Limpopo, for which it has begun undertaking an environmental impact assessment and public participation process. Sasol Mining, which uses the majority of its coal in Sasol's Secunda-based coal-to-liquids synthetic fuels plant, rounds out the top five major coal mining companies.
The role and influence of empowered coal mining companies has been steadily increasing, particularly since the 2004 implementation of the Mineral and Petroleum Resources Development Act (MPRDA), and other active coal mining companies include Optimum Coal, Shanduka Resources, Kangra Coal, Total Coal South Africa, and Wescoal, among others
In terms of the MPRDA’s use-it-or-lose-it principle, coal mining companies holding unused reserves, and those that have shut down unprofitable operations, risk losing their rights. As a result, the major coal mining companies have freed up coal deposits deemed uneconomical to mine, and have made noncore assets available to BEE coal mining companies, while also entering into numerous joint venture agreements.
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