South African emerging coal exploration, development company, Coal of Africa (CoAL), has been advised that its integrated water-use licence (IWUL), for the Makhado coking and thermal coal project, has been suspended.

According to the coal firm, the suspension follows an appeal made to the Department of Water and Sanitation, which was submitted by the Vhembe Mineral Resources Forum and other parties.

Coal of Africa to fight appeal

The appeal, which was expected, automatically suspends the IWUL in terms of Section 148 (2) (b) of the South African National Water Act No 36 of 1998, CoAL noted.

The coal mining firm added that it is in the process of preparing an urgent representation to the Minster of Water and Sanitation to request that the IWUL remain in full force and effect pending the final conclusion of the appeal by the Water Tribunal.

CoAL CEO David Brown explained: “We are actively engaging with the Department to resolve this appropriately.

“We remain committed to the sustainable development of the Makhado Project, whilst recognising its potential to drive significant socio-economic transformation.

He concluded: “We will continue to engage with all stakeholders to ensure the on-going implementation of our co-existent model, seeking co-operation between mining, agriculture and heritage land uses.”

Sustainable mining

Business Day Live reported that the coal exploration company had plans to commence construction in the second half of this year, however the suspended license was going to cause delays.

According to media, the firm was given a 20-year water license in January 2016 for the mine that is capable of producing 5.5 million tonnes of coal per annum.