Thungela invests in Australian mine as South African shipments face rail bottlenecks
Thungela Resources, South Africa’s largest exporter of coal burned in power stations, has agreed to buy a mine in Australia as it seeks to diversify its operations.
The Johannesburg-based coal producer, spun off from Anglo American Plc in 2021, has been searching for assets outside South Africa, where shipments are being curbed by rail bottlenecks.
Thungela and its co-investors will buy 85% of the Ensham mine from Idemitsu Australia Ltd. for A$340 million ($240 million).
The transaction will be undertaken through Sungela, in which Thungela will hold a 75% stake.
The South African coal miner will lend A$67 million to its co-investors — Audley Energy and Mayfair Corporations Group — to acquire the other 25% of Sungela. That will give Thungela an initial 63.75% share of Ensham.
Thungela said the deal offers it access to the Japanese and other Asian markets, plus exposure to the strong Newcastle export coal price.
“We are pleased to be entering Australia, a leading mining geography with a successful track record of thermal and metallurgical coal production and reliable, well-established port and rail facilities,” Thungela Chief Executive Officer July Ndlovu said.
The Ensham coal mine produced about 3.2 million tons of low-sulfur thermal coal last year, and has the potential to increased output, the company said. The mine could be operated through to 2039.