Coal of Africa (CoAL) is planning to start production at its Vele coking coal project in South Africa in early 2010 if the government grants it a licence.

The company is expected to get mining rights for several of its South African projects by the end of the year.

The Vele coal project will produce up to one million tonnes of coal a year in the first phase and the output will be increased up to five million tonnes a year in its second phase.

CoAL managing director Simon Farrell told Reuters the company expects the granting of a new order mining right for its Vele coking coal project before the end of 2009 and that production is expected to follow within four months of legislative approval.

CoAL has increased its interest in Vele to 80% and is expected to take full ownership of the project after receiving its new mining rights.