Huge expansion for Richards Bay

29 December 2005

South Africa’s Richards Bay Coal Terminal is to spend some R1-billion expanding its yearly export capacity to 92-million tons of coal by 2008, making it the biggest such facility in the world.

The expansion will open up opportunities for black economic empowerment (BEE) coal mining companies who have previously been unable to export coal.

The Richards Bay Coal Terminal company says it has an export capacity of 72-million tons of coal a year, and currently handles about 67-million tons.

“The extra capacity could bring around R6-billion per annum of foreign currency into South Africa and has the potential to earn around R1-billion per annum for Spoornet,” says Richards Bay Coal Terminal chair Tony Redman, who is also CE of Anglo Coal. “Such infrastructure expansion will help to support the government’s objective of 6% GDP growth.”

The current export capacity is dominated by the terminal’s main shareholders, BHP Billiton through its subsidiary, Ingwe, Anglo American and Xstrata.

Small black-owned exporters will get priority for new capacity, with 4-million tons a year earmarked for them. Further, some 85% of goods and services needed for the project will be sourced from local suppliers.

“We are excited about the expansion and believe it reflects the spirit of transformation in South Africa,” says Redman. “The additional tonnage will be mostly allocated to BEE companies and thereby open up opportunities for BEE coal mining companies who have not previously been able to export coal.”

South Dunes Coal Terminal, made up of larger black-owned coal miners, will be allocated 6-million tons, and the remaining 10-million tons will be up for subscription to all existing shareholders.

Richards Bay Coal Terminal Company Limited, situated in the deepwater port of Richards Bay in northern KwaZulu-Natal, was established in the early 1970s and has been expanded from an initial yearly capacity of 12-million tons to its current 72-million-ton capacity. The company is owned by Anglo Coal, Xstrata Coal, Eyesizwe, Ingwe, Kangra Coal, Sasol and Total Coal SA.

SouthAfrica.info reporter