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Johannesburg - Coal of Africa (CoAL) announced on Monday that the Minister of Water and Sanitation, Nomvula Mokonyane, has lifted the suspension of the Integrated Water Use Licence for the Makhado Project in Limpopo.

This comes after CoAL, in April last year, lodged an appeal against the decision by the DWS to grant an Integrated Water Use Licence to Baobab Mining and Exploration for Makhado in terms of Section 41 of the National Water Act. Baobab Mining and Exploration is a subsidiary of CoAL and owner of the mining right for the Makhado Project.

The Makhado Project is CoAL's most advanced feasibility-stage project with 344.8 million mineable tonnes of coal in situ. The resource will initially be mined on an opencast basis over 16 years with the potential for further expansion underground. Following representation by CoAl in May 2016 and February 2017, Mokonyane exercised her discretion and lifted the suspension in terms of Section 148 of the National Water Act.

The Integrated Water Use Licence is now executable, and the appellants have the opportunity to voice their concerns through the Water Tribunal. The lifting of the appeal by Mokonyane and the recently announced R240 million finance facility by the Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) are key steps in the advancing of the Makhado Project.

CoAL chief executive, David Brown, said, welcomed the lifting of the suspension of the Integrated Water Use Licence by Mokonyane as it completes the suite of regulatory authorisations required for the Makhado Project. "It further confirms government’s support for the Makhado Project and its potential to drive sustainable socio-economic transformation," Brown said.

"We will continue to work with all parties to ensure that the matter is completed satisfactorily, and furthermore to secure the remaining surface rights."