Isibonelo coal project

From Global Energy Monitor

The Isibonelo coal mine is an operating coal mine near the town of Bethal, in Mpumalanga, South Africa. It is owned by Anglo American plc.


The image below shows the exact location of the mine.

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In July 2005, production began at Anglo American's Isibonelo coal mine. When it began operating, it was expected to supply 5 million tonnes per annum of thermal coal to Sasol Synfuels when it reached full production during 2006.[1]

The mine primarily uses a dragline strip-mining method to remove coal via open cut methods. The colliery operates three open cast pits: North Pit, Central Pit, and South Pit. The extracted coal is ultimately routed to Sasol Synthetic Fuel's Secunda Complex.[2]

By 2018, the mine had begun operating under capacity, producing 4.5 million tonnes of coal in 2018 and 4 million tonnes in 2019.[3]

In response to the coronavirus pandemic, Anglo American announced that Isibonelo would operate with a 20% reduced workforce. However, the mine planned to remain open.[4]

Water Rights

In April 2019, a report by the Centre of Environmental Rights found that found eight coal mining companies in Mpumalanga had failed to comply with water use licences and threatened the quality and availability of water in the area. This included the Isibonelo coal mine.[5]

According to an article by The Citizen, "The research revealed that not one of the companies took responsibility for the contamination of rivers caused by water leaving their sites during rainy conditions."[5]

Project Details

  • Owner:
  • Parent company: Anglo American
  • Location: near Bethal, in the municipality of Govan Mbeki, District of Gert Sibande, Province of Mpumalanga
  • GPS coordinates: -26.4352762, 29.208912 (exact)
  • Mine status: Operating
  • Start year: 2005
  • Mineable reserves:27.1 Mt (Proven and Probable, 2018) [6]
  • Total Resource:' 30.8 Mt (Measured and Indicated, 2018) [6]
  • Coal type: Thermal[2], bituminous
  • Mine size:
  • Mine type: open pit
  • Production: 4 Mtpa (2019)[3]
  • Equipment:
  • Number of employees:

Articles and Resources


  1. "ISIBONELO COAL MINE," "AngloAmerican website," July 4, 2005.
  2. 2.0 2.1 "Isibonelo Mine," "Mining Data Solutions," accessed August 2020.
  3. 3.0 3.1 "INTEGRATED ANNUAL REPORT 2019," "AngloAmerican," 2019.
  4. "Anglo American sees lower 2020 S African thermal coal output on coronavirus," "S&P Global Platts," March 27, 2020.
  5. 5.0 5.1 Sinesipho Schrieber,"Dept must act against coal mines polluting water – CER," "The Citizen," April 12, 2019.
  6. 6.0 6.1 "ORE RESERVES AND MINERAL RESOURCES REPORT 2018," "Anglo American," 2018.

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