Black Royalty Minerals wins approval for Koornfontein Coal Mine purchase

Ndavhe Mareda, chairman, Makole Group

APPROVAL had been granted for the acquisition of Koornfontein Coal Mine (KCM) in South Africa’s Mpumalanga province, said Black Royalty Minerals (BRM).

KCM was one of the assets held in Tegeta Exploration & Resources, a company owned by the Gupta family, now facing criminal charges related to fraud along with a host of business and political figures in South Africa, including former Eskom CEO, Brian Molefe.

Ndavhe Mareda, chairman of Makole Group which is the majority shareholder in BRM, said there were “a few outstanding issues, including Eskom” that had to be resolved. He did not provide details.

“It is evident that regulators appreciate the need to get the economy moving and this bears testament to the facts that South Africa is a good investment destination with the mining sector as a notable player,” he said.

BRM beat rival bids for KCM from Ochid Mining-Smada and Lurco Group, with the latter contesting the award in court saying that eleventh hour conditions imposed by the business rescue practitioners were unlawful and prejudicial to KCM.

“With all regulatory approvals in place, and a few outstanding conditions, including Eskom, we are ready to turn the soil,” he said.

“The easing of lockdown restrictions from COVID-19 alert Level 3 to Level 2 will result in the opening of more industries, which in turn will result in increased demand for electricity. These approvals have therefore come at a perfect time when there is a critical need for coal for energy generation. Black Royalty Minerals is ready, willing, and able to provide this much needed resource to Eskom,” said Mareda.

BRM had begun the planning phase of mining with the intention to operationalise the mine “as soon as practically possible”.