The Twistdraai mine and washing plant is part of Sasol Mining's Secunda Collieries complex. Lying in the Highveld coalfield, east of Johannesburg, the mine was opened in 1980 to produce coal for Sasol's Secunda synthesis plant, and since 1995 has been a three-shaft complex producing low-ash steam coal for the export market as well as a middlings product for Sasol feed.
In 2006, ownership of Twistdraai was transferred to a new Black Economic Empowerment (BEE) company, Igoda Resources, formed as a joint venture between Sasol Mining (65%) and Exxaro Resources (35%). The new company has also inherited Sasol Mining's export allocation through the Richards Bay Coal Terminal, and plans to produce some 3.6Mt/y of export-quality coal, plus up to 4Mt/y of middlings for sale to Sasol. Sasol Mining, which produced 46.2Mt of coal in all its operations in the year to June 2006, will act as Igoda Coal's mining contractor and will handle the company's export marketing.
In September 2009, Sasol announced it was losing its black economic empowerment (BEE) partnership with Exxaro. The black-controlled JSE-listed Exxaro is South Africa's largest coal producer. It was announced that Exxaro would no longer be participating in the Igoda joint venture, due to the economic climate and other financial commitments that Exxaro has. Exxaro said its decision to withdraw from the Igoda coal-export venture with Sasol Mining had followed its capital expenditure prioritisation review, in the light of the global economic downturn.
Ironically, Exxaro and Sasol have entered into a prospecting joint venture to develop a new coal mine to supply Sasol's proposed coal-to-liquids Mafutha project in Limpopo province. (MiningWeekly.com, 9/14/2009)