Sasol mulls Limpopo coal opportunities
FOLLOWING its decision to ditch plans to built an 80,000 barrels per day coal-to-liquids plant in Limpopo, energy and chemicals group Sasol is now mulling other possible coal opportunities in the province, the company said.
Sasol was awarded a prospecting right in respect of the Limpopo west coal reserves in August 2007. Sasol was part of the Eyesizwe Sasol Waterberg Joint Venture — made up of Exxaro Coal Mpumalanga and Sasol Mining. The joint venture wanted to exploit the area’s coal resource mainly for a coal-to-liquid market. Sasol, however, suspended Project Mafutha in 2010.
In an annual report filed with the US Securities and Exchange Commission on Friday and issued in South Africa on Monday, Sasol said its group executive committee earlier this year asked Sasol Mining to investigate options to exploit possible future business opportunities relating to the Limpopo west reserves independent of the coal-to-liquids market.
"Based on the outcome of study results completed in May 2012, Sasol Mining submitted a mining right application on behalf of the Eyesizwe Sasol Waterberg Joint Venture in August 2012. It is planned to complete a feasibility study by December 2012, with subsequent project studies to follow in the 2013 calendar year," Sasol said.
Sasol said it had chosen to pursue selected coal-to-liquid growth opportunities, with only the possibility of implementing a coal-to-liquid project in India still being actively pursued.
"Following the decision not to proceed with Project Mafutha, the company has decided to conduct a pre-feasibility study to establish a coal mine, supplying coal to other viable markets in Limpopo," it said.
When it put Project Mafutha on the back burner in 2010, Sasol said it was doing so pending clarity on large-scale coal gasification tests and the provision of a commercially viable carbon capture and storage. Former CE Pat Davies had also previously said that the project would also need state financial support.
It was, however, unlikely that the government would support both Project Mafutha and national oil company PetroSA’s proposed crude oil refinery project at Coega in the Eastern Cape.