Universal reports maiden profit of $3.9M

UNIVERSAL Coal has reported a maiden net cash profit of $A3.9 million from 375,333 tonnes sold from its Kangala Colliery in the Witbank coalfields, South Africa during the quarter.

Lou Caruana

Kangala, which was commissioned in February 2014 on time and under budget, is poised to reach steady-state production rates by the end of July, and to begin export sales in August 2014.

The company has also been able to substantially increase plant capacity to 4.25Mtpa, yet deliver under budget, in line with a request from its major customer, leading South African power utility Eskom.

To accommodate Eskom’s requests, a greater proportion of coal will be processed through the dense medium separation section of the coal handling and preparation plant with an expected 23% reduction in overall sales yields but at higher prices.

Universal Coal’s original 2Mtpa Eskom Coal Sales Agreement was amended in order to ensure that net revenues received would, at minimum, match the original agreement.

To meet the revised Eskom requirements, Universal Coal expanded the DMS circuit of Kangala’s CHPP from 180 tonnes per hour to 320tph.

The expansion was completed at minimal additional cost and still within the original capital budget.

The entire CHPP now has a nameplate capacity of 670tph or 4.25Mtpa with 350tph from the crush and screen section and 320tph from the DMS section.

As a result, there is now sufficient installed and commissioned capacity to allow for a future increase in run-of-mine production of 1.85Mtpa, or 77% above the current steady-state production rate.