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31 July 2017

Bettercoal's priority country engagement continues in South Africa

South Africa is the 6th largest exporter of coal in the world and is home to 3.5% of the world’s coal resources. In 2016, over 72.6 million tons of coal were exported through the Richards Bay Coal Terminal (RBCT), the country’s largest coal export facility.

Although exports from South Africa to Europe have been declining, the country remains an important provider of coal to Europe and therefore, one of the countries that Bettercoal has been engaging with more over the past year.

In July 2017, Bettercoal’s Executive Director travelled to South Africa to further engage with South African coal producers and other stakeholders in the coal value chain, as well as International NGO ActionAid.

Bettercoal spent a day with local communities in the province of Mpumalanga, visiting two settlements: MNS and Coronation. The organisation also engaged in a discussion with women impacted by mining in the city of Phola. Bettercoal would like to reiterate its support to the work ActionAid have been doing to give a voice to women affected by mining in South Africa.

Bettercoal also visited RBCT’s operations, providing us with a great opportunity to view world class coal exporting facilities which handles over 73 million tons of coal and has the capacity to handle up to 91 million tons per annum. Bettercoal discussed the prospects and plans for RBCT, as well as their CSR and community engagement practices with CEO Alan Waller and his management team.

Bettercoal also visited Menar's Zululand Anthracite Colliery (ZAC). Menar is the controlling shareholder of Canyon Coal, which is the only South African coal producer to have completed the Bettercoal Assessment Programme with their Hakhano Colliery, currently under a Continuous Improvement Plan. ZAC was purchased by Menar a year ago and this was a great opportunity for Bettercoal to witness first hand the effort being put into bringing the mine up to world class standards after years of challenging operations and uncertainty.

Glencore’s Murray Houston also hosted Bettercoal at their Tweefontein site in the Mpumalanga province. Murray and his team presented a very comprehensive overview of their activities, reflecting on how their operations and commitment to “Safe Work leads to Safe Coal” demonstrated adherence to the Bettercoal Code. We hope that in due course Glencore’s South African operations will join the Bettercoal Assessment Process.

This visit to South Africa also enabled Bettercoal to meet with South32 in the hope that they will also join the initiative.


Photo credit: Richards Bay Coal Terminal; Bradley Hammond - Zululand Anthracite Colliery (ZAC).

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