Swiss based resources group Glencore International says there has been significant growth in coal production from South Africa‚ including a large increase in export capacity through Richards Bay Coal Terminal (RBCT) following the inclusion of both Optimum and Umcebo from the start of the year.
Releasing its interim management statement and September quarter production report on Thursday‚ the group said its overall performance in Q3 was good‚ despite generally weaker commodity prices.
In SA‚ Glencore has interests in Shanduka Coal (49.99%)‚ Umcebo Mining (43.66%) and Optimum Coal (64.13%).
Own production was 20.6 million tonnes‚ a nearly five-fold increase versus the comparable 2011 period‚ reflecting the inclusion of production from Optimum and Umcebo for the first time from 1 January 2012‚ it noted.
Volumes of export coal also increased significantly to 6.1 million tonnes predominantly the result of Optimum which exports approximately 6.8 million tonnes per annum of thermal coal through RBCT.
The group added that work is currently proceeding well on a number of expansion and development projects including Wonderfontein‚ with the rail siding expected to be completed during December 2012 and first coal railed shortly thereafter.
At Shanduka and Umcebo‚ the Springboklaagte project studies are also progressing to schedule and it is expected that the definitive feasibility study will be completed by April 2013. Meanwhile‚ the Argent coal deposit definitive feasibility study is also currently progressing and expected to be completed by April 2013.
At Optimum‚ the Pullenshope Underground brownfield project is proceeding to schedule‚ with construction due to commence in Q4 2012 and first coal expected in Q2 2013. It is also expected that licensing for Optimum’s Koornfontein 4 Seam project will be completed by December 2012‚ with construction commencing in early 2013.
Studies for the two major longer term Optimum growth projects - Remhoogte and TNC - are also proceeding as planned‚ it noted.
Glencore added that its marketing operations have continued to trade strongly. Q3 saw a healthy improvement both year-on-year and sequentially. Agriculture and metals were particularly strong.
Its outlook for the remainder of the year in marketing remains positive‚ based on generally accommodating supply/demand conditions and the compelling business proposition that we provide to our customers and suppliers.
The group’s industrial portfolio saw an overall improved volume performance during Q3 in sequential terms and year-on-year‚ with the performance of its energy division‚ particularly noteworthy‚ it said.
“ Although the financial outcome in our Industrial operations will remain dependent on commodity price levels‚ the 10-15% annual volume growth forecast from 2011-2015 should continue to provide us with incremental positive operating leverage‚” it said.
Looking ahead the group said it is not assuming any short term material improvement in global macro conditions.
“We are confident that in this environment our business model places us in a strongly competitive position‚ underpinned by our strong relationships in marketing and our highly capital-efficient low-cost brownfield expansion projects in industrial activities‚” it concluded. - I-Net Bridge