Arnot coal mine
Arnot coal mine is a coal mine in Mpumalanga province, South Africa. It is a mine-mouth plant for the Arnot Power Station. The mine is currently shut down, but may be reopened.
The map below shows the location of the mine, near Rietkuil, in Steve Tshwete (formerly Middelburg) municipality, Nkangala district, Mpumalanga province.
Arnot coal mine has estimated recoverable reserves of 70 million tons (Mt) remaining. By 2011, the mine's recoverable reserves had been depleted to the point that the mine became unprofitable. Exxaro entered into a dispute with Eskom over what Exxaro argued was Eskom's failure to obtain surface rights to an area that would allow Exxaro to expand surface mining and once again make the mine profitable.
In September 2015, Eskom refused to renew their contract to buy coal from Arnot for the Arnot Power Station, and Exxaro subsequently shut the mine down in December. In March 2016, Exxaro entered into arbitration with Eskom over the dispute. In February 2018, an inquiry into Eskom found that the company had improperly favored Tegeta (linked to the Gupta family) over Exxaro in its coal supply contracts.
In March 2019, the mine was transferred by Exxaro at no cost to a 50-50 partnership of Investor Resources (whose shareholders include miners laid off when the mine was shut down in 2015) and Wescoal. The former miners had pushed for the deal, in an effort to restart production. With Eskom facing an increasing coal supply shortage it was thought that the company would approve a supply contract from Arnot — but the mine at that point still needed to get renewed regulatory approval. In May 2019, the government approved the financial transfer to the Westcoal-Investor Resources partnership.
As of August 2020, there is no evidence that Wescoal-Investor Resources has renewed operation of the mine and it is currently considered mothballed.
Articles and Resources
- How Eskom paid billions more for coal after ignoring early warnings, Business Day, 12 Sept. 2018.
- Exxaro, Eskom head for arbitration over Arnot coal mine closure, Engineering News, 3 Mar. 2016.
- Eskom overlooked Exxaro to benefit Tegeta, inquiry hears, Fin24, 15 Feb. 2018.
- Wescoal to resurrect closed Arnot mine by the end of 2019, Business Day, 1 Mar. 2019.
- South Africa’s Wescoal gets approval for 50% stake of Arnot mine, Africa Inc., 6 May 2019.