Belfast has four operating opencast pits with the latest addition, Pit 4B, opened in 2021. The opening of this pit was a culmination of the successful implementation of the early value strategy, additional drilling, updating of the short-term model, which led to the identification of additional resources, reviewing of the LoM and a culture to succeed.
Table 14: Belfast overview
|Location||10km south-west of the town of Belfast in Mpumalanga, South Africa|
|History||Previous ownership||Material notes|
|1967||Fuel Research Institute of South Africa||Coal Resource delineation drilling|
|1969||Trans-Natal Steenkoolkorporasie Beperk||Coal Resource delineation drilling|
|1975 to 1983||Gold Fields Mining and Development||Coal Resource delineation drilling|
|2001 to 2003||Eyesizwe||Coal Resource delineation drilling|
|2008 to 2021||Exxaro||Drilling to delineate Coal Resource, detailed box-cut designs, five-year mine plan infill drilling and Belfast expansion project. The mine produced first coal in April 2019, ramping up in 2020 with full production from 2021.|
|Adjacent properties||The mineral tenure areas of Umsimbithi Mining (Wonderfontein coal mine) and Universal Coal (Paardeplaats) are to the west and north of Belfast respectively.|
|Infrastructure||Belfast mine is adjacent to the N4 highway connecting Pretoria and Maputo, and can be accessed from the N4 via two district roads, namely D1110 and D1770. The mine is also adjacent to the railway line to Maputo. Nearby loading facilities connect the railway line to the Richards Bay Coal Terminal. Existing Eskom power lines are on the property for electricity supply. Water is sourced on site as per the integrated water use licence specification. Potable water is sourced from authorised water drill holes, and process water for dust suppression and running of the beneficiation plant is sourced through dewatering from the pits.|
|Coalfield||Belfast mine is situated on the far eastern edge of the Witbank coalfield. The coalfield extends about 190km east-west between the towns of Springs and Belfast, and about 60km in a north-south direction between the towns of Middelburg and Ermelo.
The Witbank coalfield has up to five coal seams in the middle Ecca group sediments of the Karoo supergroup. The Karoo sequence in the area is represented by the Dwyka formation and the middle Ecca with little or no lower Ecca development. The middle Ecca sequence of coal horizons, interbedded with sediments, is highly truncated due to erosion with only very minor areas where the full sequence is developed.
|Main seams||Seam 2|
|Seam development||Locally, mainly three seams are targeted (S2, S3 and S4). S5 was intersected in only two drill holes in the northern part of the project area. S2, the most prevalent seam, is consistently developed, except in areas where it has been eroded. It has an average thickness of 2.8m and gently dips to the south. Both S3 and S4 are sporadically developed due to erosion and both have an average thickness of 0.6m.|
|Depositional control||Due to the mine's proximity to the northern edge of the Witbank basin, the primary control of coal development is the current weathering surface. The deposit is divided, by a perennial stream, into two resource blocks under two distinct spurs in the surface topography. There is no indication of pertinent faulting from the drill hole information but potential intrusions of dolerite dykes are outlined by regional airborne magnetics, indicating the possible occurrence of regional north-south trending dykes.
There are no known geological structures that may affect the geology or coal seam continuity.
|Resources and Reserves||Resources occur within most of the mining right whereas the Reserve is limited to the southern mining right area, aligned with the existing LoMP.|
|Mining method||Currently, mining takes place from four open pits using the doze-over, truck and shovel hybrid mining method. 10 opencast pits have been identified as per LoM. Four to five will operate concurrently. There are prospects for additional opencast pits and an underground mining section in the BEP area.|