There is nothing intriguing in life than seeing something that you have been studying about unfolds right before your eyes. On October 23, 2018 Journalism students, journalists and a geologist have been granted an opportunity of a site visit at Phalanndwa Colliery.

The visit included the processing operations and the respective control rooms where journalists were given insight into how the mining equipment is closely controlled and monitored. The colliery takes safety as a priority hence they were given hard hats, safety boots and safety vest, they were also warned not to approach moving machinery or equipment’s.

Phalanndwa Colliery is situated approximately 19 km outside the town of Delmas, Mpumalanga. It has commenced in 2010 and was fully operational inclusive of its wash plant in 2013, but established their mining company in March 2015. Utilizing its own equipment, Canyon coal extracts 120 000 tons of Rom per month of no: 2 upper, main and lower seams with Rom top size of 500 mm.

Coal remains one of South Africa’s most abundant and valuable resources with the country deriving over 82% of its electricity requirements from coal. Phalanndwa colliery mines +/- 100 000 tonnes of coal per month and removes approximately 200 000 m3 of waste rock and soil every month to get to the coal and it produces 1.4 million tons per annum.

Thereafter they were taken to the on-site laboratory were coal grade is prepared; they test 3, 4 content of coal as in mineral and moisture content of coal. They were also shown samples of coal and how much of energy does the coal produce. Emulsion Explosives are used to conduct all blasts on the mine and approximately 100 tons of explosives are used per month.

Moreover, the coal mining industry’s economic impact for reaching and contributes significantly to the economy of the country. The opencast colliery is giving a helping hand to the needy by providing 82% of employment especially to young people and women, bursaries, learner ships and skills development to the people residing in Victor Khanye Municipality.

The visit concluded by showing them equipment’s used for mining. The visit was fruitful and mind blowing especially for first timers like me and it was also impressive to see and is being developed rapidly.

By Mbali Maluma

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