Arnot coal mine

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Arnot Coal Mine is a surface and underground mine in Mpumalanga province, South Africa. It is a mine-mouth plant for the Arnot Power Station.

Due to an expired coal supply agreement, the mine previously closed in 2015. However, as of February 2022, it has since resumed operations.[1]


The map below shows the location of the mine between the towns of Middelburg and Carolina, Nkangala district, Mpumalanga province, South Africa.

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Upon beginning its underground and opencast operations in the early 2000s, the Arnot coal mine produced 5 million tonnes of coal under the ownership of Exxaro Resources.[2] 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.[3]

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.[3] In March 2016, Exxaro entered into arbitration with Eskom over the dispute.[4] 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.[5]

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 (now known as Salungano Group Limited).[6] 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.[7] In May 2019, the government approved the financial transfer to the Westcoal-Investor Resources partnership.[8]

As of February 2022, production activities at Arnot mine have re-commenced, and the mine is expected to soon deliver first coal into the Arnot power station, as required under a ten-year coal supply agreement (CSA) awarded to the operation by Eskom in August 2021.[1] Current production is from the underground sections of the mine, and a strategy is in place for the development of opencast operations.[1]

Mine Details

  • Operator: Salungano Group Limited
  • Owners: Salungano Group (45%), former employees (55%)[1]
  • Location: Between the towns of Middelburg and Carolina in Mpumalanga, South Africa[9]
  • Coordinates: -25.9348458, 29.7747599 (Exact)
  • Status: Operating
  • Production:
  • Total Resource: 190.34 million tonnes[1]
  • Mineable Reserves:
  • Coal Type: Bituminous (Thermal)
  • Mine Type: Surface & underground
  • Start Year: 1971; 2022 (recommissioning date)[1]
  • Source of Financing:

Articles and Resources


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 Salungaro Group, Integrated annual report for the year ended 31 March 2022, Salano Group website, Accessed September 2022.
  2. South African Coal Desktop Study, Centre for Environmental Rights website, Accessed September 2022.
  3. 3.0 3.1 How Eskom paid billions more for coal after ignoring early warnings, Business Day, 12 Sept. 2018.
  4. Exxaro, Eskom head for arbitration over Arnot coal mine closure, Engineering News, 3 Mar. 2016.
  5. Eskom overlooked Exxaro to benefit Tegeta, inquiry hears, Fin24, 15 Feb. 2018.
  6. "Wescoal is now trading as Salungano as it seeks to distance itself from fossil fuels",, April 7, 2022.
  7. Wescoal to resurrect closed Arnot mine by the end of 2019, Business Day, 1 Mar. 2019.
  8. South Africa’s Wescoal gets approval for 50% stake of Arnot mine, Africa Inc., 6 May 2019.
  9. Arnot Opco Coal Mine, LinkedIn, Accessed September 2022.

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