Morupule Coal Mine has a mining lease area covering approximately 42531.625ha and a total inventory coal of 4 284.9Mt both from indicated, inferred and measured resource categories.
Underground Mining and Production
MCM is mining the MCM1 resource constituted by 3 main seams
The underground operation currently extracts coal from the Morupule main seam. Excavation of coal at the Morupule coalfield commenced in 1972 with the excavation of a box cut and exposure of the coal zone. The coal resources were found at a depth and required extraction of coal from beneath the surface of the ground.
The Underground Mining Process
Production started in 1973 using the conventional drilling and blasting methods to extract the coal. Production steadily increased from 32,732t in 1973 to 905,221t in 2004
In 2004 a new technology of using the Continuous Miner to scrap out the coal was introduced and replaced the drilling and blasting method. A continuous miner has a capacity to produce 13tons/minute.
The CM has a large rotating steel drum equipped with tungsten carbide teeth which scraps out the coal leaving pillars for primary support. This method is called room and pillar support mining method.
The scrapped coal is loaded into electric shuttle cars which transports the coal to a central place underground called the feeder breaker.
At the feeder breaker, the coal is crushed and loaded into the underground conveyor belt that transports the coal from underground to a surface stockpile called Run of Mine (RoM).
The RoM stockpile feeds the coal into the crushing plant where the coal is further crushed and screened to different sizes.
At the time, Morupule Coal Mine was producing and selling raw unwashed coal. To further improve production, in 2008 a coal wash plant was built followed by an expansion project in 2011 to increase production capacity from 1 million tons to 2.8 million tons per annum.
At the wash plant, the coal is separated using the Dense Medium Separation(DMS) process. The product(coal) will float and the sinks are taken for further processing.