Menar to suspend coal production in line with Govt.’s COVID-19 shutdown directive

PRIVATELY-held coal producer Menar Holdings said it had suspended its mines in line with the South African government’s declaration of a state of national disaster.

Menar’s subsidiaries include mining and exploration companies consisting of Canyon Coal, with operations in Mpumalanga and Gauteng provinces; Zululand Anthracite Colliery in KwaZulu Natal, and the Kangra operation in Mpumalanga province.

“We support all efforts to enforce social distancing, including confining most people to their homes to prevent social and non-essential business activities from midnight on Thursday, March 26, until Thursday, April 16,” said Menar MD, Vuslat Bayoglu, in a statement.

Mines and energy minister, Gwede Mantashe, said on Wednesday (March 26) that in certain circumstances coal mining exports may be permitted. He was commenting on the government’s view that supplying coal domestically – to Eskom – was considered an essential service.

“We have made it publicly known that we plan to invest R7bn in greenfield investments in the next two years and create over 5,000 jobs. The efficacy of the president’s directive would be critical in rebuilding the economy,” said Bayoglu.

Menar Holdings was short-listed for South32’s South African Energy Coal after the Australian group said it was selling its 28 million tons/year assets. However, Menar lost out to Seriti Resources.

Yet it might be back in the headlines before long if Anglo American announces in April that it intends to exit from its remaining South African mines sooner than initially anticipated. Anglo is due to publish its Sustainability Report in April in which it may document its plans for its thermal coal mines.