South Africa: Govt to Unlock Opportunities in Lephalale

12 November 2019

Government's new integrated, district-based approach to service delivery is to be launched in Lephalale, Limpopo.

The Lephalale Local Municipality is one of the fastest growing municipalities in the country and governs a town that has the potential to become the future hub of power generation in South Africa.

The pilot of the District Development Model was launched at the OR Tambo District Municipality in Lusikisiki - which has elements of rural spatial development - and recently, the eThekwini Municipality in Durban - which has elements of urban spatial development.

The final pilot phase will be launched in Lephalale on 26 November 2019, has elements of mining spatial development.

The municipality is working to build a vibrant city situated at the heart of the Waterberg coalfield - which is estimated to contain between 40 and 50% of South Africa's remaining coal reserves.

Conventional wisdom is that the future of South African coal mining depends on the development of this extensive deposit of coal surrounding Lephalale.

There is no doubt that the town will soon be a forerunner in the mining sector.

Exxaro Coal Grootegeluk

Situated 25km from Lephalale, Exxaro's Grootegeluk open pit coal mine employs 2000 people and produces 18.8 Mtpa final coal products, using a conventional truck and shovel operation.

This mine has an estimated minable coal reserve of 3 261 Mt and a total measured coal resource of 4719Mt, from which semi-soft coking coal, thermal coal and metallurgical coal can be produced.

Grootegeluk has the world's largest beneficiation complex where 8000 tonnes per hour of run-of-mine coal is upgraded in six different plants.

Exxaro Coal Thabametsi

Exxaro approved the Thabametsi mine in June 2014. The project is 22km west of Lephalale and adjacent to the Grootegeluk mine.

The project area is divided into a northern opencastable portion, and a southern underground area. The northern portion aims to produce power station coal for an on-site Independent Power Producer (IPP) as part of phase 1. A feasibility study on phase 1 was successfully concluded in 2016 and studies on extending the phase and the southern project area are ongoing.

In October 2016, the Thabametsi power project, for which the Thabametsi project has a 30-year coal supply agreement, was selected as a preferred bidder in the first bid window of South Africa's coal-baseload IPP procurement programme.

Waterberg coal mine

Waterberg Coal has partnered with Firestone energy and is conducting an optimisation study to review its joint venture in order to enhance the viability of the four million ton-a-year thermal coal project.

Boikarabelo mine

Boikarabelo - which means 'to be responsible' in Sesotho - will be a world-class, low-cost, open-cut coal mine.

The Boikarabelo Coal Resource stands at 995Mt. Annual production is planned at 6Mt of high-quality product coal, which will supply local and global customers.

Boikarabelo will be connected to an existing rail system that will allow access to domestic markets and the coal terminals of Richards Bay for export shipments by means of a 44km rail loop and link, which will be constructed.

Resource Generation, the company who owns the mine, has completed its construction camp for workers which can accommodate 1320 people. It has developed permanent water supply and construction power infrastructure while building 36,8km of roads and an office complex.

Lephalale also has a variety of agricultural activities taking place around it, including game farming, livestock farming and irrigated agriculture and it contributes to the economic development of the district and province

The District Development Model has been approved by government structures, including Cabinet, to integrate service delivery that will be more practical, achievable, implementable, measurable and clearly aligned to the key priorities of the government.

The model seeks to change the face of rural and urban landscapes by ensuring complementarity between urban and rural development, with a deliberate emphasis on local economic development.

The District Development Model is due for implementation in all of South Africa's 44 municipal districts and eight metropolitans.

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