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Coal Mining in Africa

Coal mining in Africa is still a profitable industry. While many countries move away from fossil fuels, mining production in Africa continues to rise. Much of the continent’s coal comes from South Africa, which accounts for roughly 85% of production.

In this article, we’ll look at some of the main coal mines in Africa and how this industry affects the continent’s economy.

Where is Coal Mined in Africa?

Coal mining in Africa takes place across much of the continent but some of the largest deposits are in Botswana, Malawi, Zambia, Niger, and South Africa. South Africa is arguably one of the largest coal exporting and producing countries in the content.

It’s one of the seventh-largest coal producing countries in the world and one of the top five exporters. After platinum and gold, coal is South Africa’s next largest source of foreign exchange. In a 2009 report, it was concluded that 92% of coal mined in Africa was consumed in South Africa.

Notable Coal Mines in Africa

South Africa is by far the leading producer of coal in Africa. This is because it’s home to a rock formation known as the Karoo Supergroup, which contains something known as the Ecca Deposits. It covers around two-thirds of the country’s area and is the site of much African coal mining.

Within this area, there are several large coalfields, including:

Grootegeluk Coal Mine

Located in the Limpopo province, Grootegeluk is part of the Waterberg Coalfield. It’s operated by Exxaro and uses electric trolley-assist trucks for improved productivity and reduced operational costs.

Its coal mining output is roughly 18.8 million tons annually and is believed to have reserves of around 4,600 million tons.

Leeuwpan Coal Mine

Leeuwpan is located in the Mpumalanga province in South Africa. It produces around 3 million tons of coking coal per year and is believed to have reserves of roughly 160 million tons.


Botswana is the world’s largest diamond miner but has recently shifted its attention towards coal mining. It discovered roughly 200 billion tons of coal reserves, making it one of the biggest untapped sources in Africa. Developing the coal industry has become a major priority for the country.

Hwange Colliery

Hwange operates in Zimbabwe and is the country’s largest coal mining company. Zimbabwe contains around 0.1% of the world’s coal reserves and, other than South Africa, is one of the only African countries actively pursuing coal mining. Of course, this will soon change as Botswana and Mozambique scale up their coal mining operations.

Where to Mine Coal in Africa?

Companies looking to capitalize on coal mining in Africa have plenty of options. South Africa remains the largest producer and shows no signs of slowing down yet.

However, shifting attention to up-and-coming countries, like Botswana, could prove to be a lucrative business decision for those interested in the coal mining industry.

Scribante Group is intimately linked to coal mining in South Africa. We use our expertise to improve the safety and operation of mines across the country. If you want to establish yourself in the mining industry, we’re here to help.


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