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Welcome to
Khwezela Colliery

Welcome to Khwezela Colliery – a merger of Kleinkopje and Landau mines in South Africa.

The site was launched in December 2016 by Coal South Africa CEO July Ndlovu and eMalahlani executive mayor, Councillor Lindiwe Ntshalintshali and has the potential for 30 years of coal mining. 

The landmark event was celebrated at our Witbank-based Centralised Services precinct – the midway point between the two mines, and home to the newly-established Khwezela Colliery management team.

It was attended by members of the Coal South Africa Regional Leadership Team, mine general managers, representatives of the National Union of Mineworkers, Solidarity and UASA and Khwezela employees.

“Today, these two operations come together to secure a sustainable future,” said July, explaining to assembled colleagues and friends that the merger represented both ‘the end of an era’ and an ‘exciting new chapter’ in the history of eMalahleni.

Why the merger?

The merger was necessitated by the fact that both sites were approaching the end of their operational lives, with one pit expected to close at Kleinkopje in early 2017, and a further two at Landau the following year. This meant that it became economically unviable for the two operations to continue as separate entities, each with their own overheads and individual support structures.

“Closure and job losses were not the result we desired and so – in a capital constrained environment – we determined that a merger would be the best way forward,” said July.

What are the business and community benefits?

There are many benefits to the merger including zero loss of employment, enhanced levels of productivity, the cross transfer of machines and people and the ability to leverage economies of scale.

Active reserves will comfortably take Khwezela to 2024, while further resources offer the potential for 30 years of coal extraction. Another significant advantage is that local communities will continue to benefit from mine corporate social investment and local economic development programmes.

Speaking at the event, the executive mayor applauded our business for going to great lengths to prevent unemployment at a time when mining companies are shedding jobs. “You are a responsible corporate citizen and demonstrate this through the ongoing contribution you make to our communities,” Lindiwe said, commending our operations for their ongoing participation in forums at which social needs and concerns are identified and then acted upon.

What does it take to merge two mines?

The merger was undertaken by a multi-disciplinary project team with conceptual work commencing as recently as 2015.

Early this year, detailed design work had begun and between May and August members were engaged in formulating a business plan and transition programme. This transition started last month, with the appointment of a new management structure led by Khwezela general manager Bonke Ntimane.

The process involved engagement with employees, trade unions, regulators and suppliers, as well as the redeployment of employees. Around 200 people are in the process of being deployed to other Coal South Africa sites, while the new leadership and project teams continue to work on amalgamating the systems and structures that will enable two mines to operate as a single entity.  

Regional head of trade mines Clive Ritchie commended all involved in making the merger a reality.

“When we embarked on this process, it seemed like a huge mountain to climb, but we have gone this far a lot more smoothly that I would have dared to think.

“To every single Khwezela Colliery employee and contractor; thank you for your trust in this new idea. Thank you for your willingness to travel this journey together. We will repay your trust with the care and respect it deserves.”

What does Khwezela mean?

Khwezela is the Nguni word for the rekindling of fire to release new energy, to inject fresh life and bring warmth. It also represents what binds a family as they face the future together. The mine’s new name was selected out of 130 contributions from employees, which were then carefully sifted down to 30, then eight and finally two.

“We had to be very careful when exploring the meanings and connotations of these words, and enlisted the expertise of the language departments at the universities of the Witwatersrand and Pretoria,” said Bonke Ntimane, who went on to recognise the name’s originator, ventilation and occupational hygiene engineering specialist Bongani Mavuma.

Discover more about coal here.

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