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The colliery produces the lowest-quality steam coal currently burnt by Eskom. All coal is sent to Lethabo power station, where it is burnt in specially-designed boilers capable of handling the low-calorific-value (CV) high-ash coal. New Vaal Colliery is wholly owned by Anglo Coal and produces coal for the local power generation company, Eskom.

new vaal colliery, vereeniging estates, lethabo power station, george stow, anglo american coal, anglo coal, calorific value, open cast strip mine

In 1878, the geologist George Stow, acting under commission from the Orange Free State Volksraad, discovered the Vaal River coalfield. The coalfield extended from the confluence of the Vaal River and the Taaiboschspruit, to Maccauvlei in the east and the Leeuwspruit in the west. Sammy Marks, a diamond magnate, saw the possibilities of supplying the Kimberley diamond fields with coal and hired Stow to buy all the available land which had coal reserves. Mining, under the management of Stow, began in 1880 and in August 1897, the Vereeniging Estates Limited (VE) was listed. The new company had broadened its trading base and encompassed not only coal mining, but agricultural ventures, timber plantations and a brick and tile company. In 1910, VE signed a coal supply contract with the Victoria Falls and Transvaal Power Company (VFP), which undertook to build a power station on the Vaal River at Vereeniging. The contract was for 200 000 tons of coal per annum for 14 years. The power station became operational in 1912.

 

By 1926, VE had produced over two million tons of coal and the company had acquired additional coal fields in Springs and Witbank. 1928 saw the acquisition of Coronation Collieries together with the assets of the Transvaal and Natal Collieries company. By 1941, the group had produced five millions tons of coal and was supplying around one third of South Africa’s coal requirements.

 

In September 1945, Anglo American Corporation of South Africa Limited (AAC) bought a controlling interest in VE. In January 1975, various AAC coal operations companies were merged into Vereeniging Estates and the company was renamed Anglo American Coal Corporation Limited (Amcoal).

 

Anglo Coal, a subsidiary of Anglo American plc, has been mining coal at its New Vaal Colliery south of the Vaal River near Vereeniging since 1985. It supplies the nearby Lethabo Power Station with 15 million tons of coal per year. The current life expectation of the mine is 2029. Extra coal requirements for Lethabo Power Station will be achieved through an expansion of the present 3 956 ha mining lease into an area called the Maccauvlei West area where another 100 million tons of reserves are available.

 

Mining method: The colliery is an opencast strip mine using three draglines as the prime earthmoving equipment. The coal is loaded and transported to the plant using a fleet of electric shovels and 170 t rear dump trucks. The mine was the first in Anglo Coal to use Truck Dispatch, a computerised system which uses the co-ordinates from satellite triangulation to control the allocation of trucks, using the most economical travelling distances and minimising queuing time, producing coal at the correct quality blend from the three mining seams from as many as seven shovels

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