Africa-Press – Eswatini. The current site activity at The New Frontier Coal Mine has promoted the Federation of Eswatini Business Community (FESBC) to have a closer look.
FESBC said the Mine Authorities were claiming that the operations have not started yet they were huge activities on site.
“FESBC has taken strides towards supporting the neighbouring Chiefdoms who have struggled to have a meeting with the Project Proponents to establish a sustainable socio-economic relationship to ensure smooth running of the operations as per the promise made during the stakeholder consultation process during the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) which was led by MTK Consultants based in Manzini,” mentioned FESBC.
According to the Commissioner of Mines and New Frontier Coal Mining the mining operation have not started when already the area is a brown field , FESBC claims a South African Contractor appointed to do the Shaft Box Cut, alleged to be very delicate and specialized operation which cannot be performed by any Swazi Contractor.
Worth noting, More than 20 procurement opportunities were availed for local businesses, with construction works topping the pile, there are over 12 construction projects expected to be availed to the public as part of mining works.
These include the construction of a diesel storage facility, mine offices, dump areas and more as outlined in their environmental assessment report. New Frontier Coal Investments (Pty) Ltd, a subsidiary of Sub-Saharan Energy (Pty) Ltd, has been awarded a 25-year mining lease, to mine for anthracite in Mhlume on farms 4/94, R/94, 27/94 and R/1/860. The mining lease for the project will extend over these areas, but the actual mine access point will be limited to a 1 992-hectare piece of land to be sublet from the current leaseholder, Royal Eswatini Sugar Corporation (RESCorp). The proposed mining site is accessed through MR24 (Maphiveni-Tshaneni) Road.
This will be a small-scale underground mining operation, with the anthracite seam depth starting at approximately 25 meters deep and then steadily increasing in depth from west to east at a 5-7-degree dip.
The deepest part of the mining operation, on the far eastern side of the reserve, is approximately 190 meters deep. Worth noting, New Frontier invested E200 million with 200 job opportunities to be created in the new coal mine, which will start operations in the first quarter of next year.
According to the mine’s Managing Director (MD), Peter Grey, the initial investment required to reach a steady state will be between E160 and E200 million.
The MD said there would be equipment on top of that investment package that was still to be acquired. Grey said that after a thorough process and the necessary approvals following the prospecting confirmations, the company had been granted a mining licence to mine anthracite near Mhlume.
He stated that some regulatory steps remained to be completed, including the necessary social, community and environmental impact assessments.