Production is concentrated in large mines, with 11 mines accounting for 70 percent of the output. South African coal for local electricity production is among the cheapest in the world. The beneficiation of coal, particularly for export, results in more than 65Mt of coal discards being produced every year.
About 21 percent of the run-of-mine coal produced is exported, and 21 percent is used locally (excluding power-station coal). The rest is not saleable and is discarded.
The remainder of South Africa’s coal production feeds the various local industries:
. 62 percent is used for electricity generation;
. 23 percent for petrochemical industries (Sasol);
. 8 percent for general industry;
. 4 percent for the metallurgical industry (Mittal); and
. 4 percent is purchased by merchants and sold locally or exported.