London - Miner Coal of Africa [JSE:CZA] said on Wednesday it was ready
to begin full operations at its controversial Vele colliery in South Africa,
after the government lifted a suspension of the integrated water use licence
for the project.
The miner’s water use licence for Vele, which is close to a
Unesco World Heritage Site, was suspended in July after an appeal submitted by
a coalition of non-governmental organisations.
But the miner said on Wednesday the suspension had been
lifted by the South African Minister of Water and Environmental Affairs,
pending finalisation of the appeal.
Coal of Africa said it would now begin full operations and
complete construction at the Vele mine. It would also begin mobilising
contractors and re-employing staff immediately.
The mine will create around 500 jobs during the initial
phase of operation, it said.
“We are now well placed to produce first coking coal in the
first quarter of 2012, ramping up to an initial target of one million tonnes
per annum,” CEO John Wallington said.
Coal of Africa shares jumped as much as 11% on Wednesday morning.
London shares in the miner were up 11.6% at 55.25 pence at
08:00 GMT, having touched 60 pence earlier, outperforming a sector trading flat
after bullish production numbers from BHP Billiton [JSE:BIL] and hopes of a
“It’s very positive, and it is the news that we have been
waiting for,” analyst Louise Collinge at Evolution said.
“Obviously there is still an appeal process that will rumble
along in the background, but we knew that. What we were looking for was for them
to be able to use the water while that process was under way and therefore
enable them to start production.”