Penumbra Coal mine

South Africa-based Continental Coal has increased the average monthly run-of-mine (RoM) production at its Penumbra coal mine by 35%, achieving an average of 26,787t a month in July and August 2013.

The company said the increase over the average monthly production of 19, 895 tonnes in the second quarter of 2013 came due to various operational improvements, which remain on target to achieve the design capacity of 63, 000 tonnes of RoM coal per month by November 2013.

The commissioning of the permanent ventilation shaft in August 2013 was the last remaining infrastructure required to reach the design capacity of 63,000 tonnes per month according to the company.

RoM production for September 2013 has already crossed the 20,000t mark and is moving towards the 40,000t target for the month.

The improvement in yield was also due to the mining sections, which are being established at the site.

The company plans to add a drill-and-blast section to the two continuous miner sections in November 2013 to add further flexibility in order to maintain the planned production rate.

Continental Coal chief executive officer Don Turvey said that the company had to hold back on production due to ventilation constraints up to the end of August, but the commissioning of the ventilation shaft will now allow it to move towards full design capacity.

"The team has already taken the production step change now that they have been unleashed and will reach steady state production by November 2013," Turvey said.

"The Penumbra project is further establishing itself as a model project from design, through development and now aiming for steady state production."

Image: Penumbra Coal mine main ventilation shaft. Photo: Courtesy of Continental Coal.