Continental Coal has secured approval from the South African Department of Mineral Resources to start the Vaalbank coal exploration project.
The project is a 50:50 joint venture (JV) between Continental Coal and Total Coal South Africa subsidiary Forzando Coal.
As per the joint exploration programme, both the companies will now commence a two-phase exploration programme, featuring 20 exploration holes.
Continental Coal chief executive officer Don Turvey said securing the approval to transfer the prospecting right for the project will enable the company and Forzando Coal to start with the detail planning and scheduling of the exploration programme.
"Initial review studies indicated the potential for an economic mineable resource and we believe the proposed exploration program will not only support this but also provide the initial data required to commence with a pre-feasibility study," Turvey added.
Continental Coal has a portfolio of projects situated in South Africa's major coal fields including three operating mines, the Vlakvarkfontein, Ferreira and Penumbra coal mines.
The three mines produce about 2.8 million tonnes of thermal coal per year for the export and domestic markets.
Continental Coal has recently secured a mining right from the South African Department of Mineral Resources for its De Wittekrans coal project.
After completion, the project is anticipated to deliver about 3.6 million tonnes of thermal coal annually from a major opencast and underground mine.
Image: Vaalbank coal exploration project is a 50:50 joint venture between Continental Coal and Forzando Coal. Photo: Courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net.