Mining Intelligence and News
South Africa

Zibulo Mine

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Mine TypeOpen Pit & Underground
  • Coal (thermal)
Mining Method
  • Truck & Shovel / Loader
  • Continuous
  • Bord-and-pillar
Production Start... Lock
Mine Life... Lock
SnapshotThe Zibulo Colliery includes the Zibulo OC, the Zibulo UG and the Zondagsfontein West Project. The opencast are expected to cease in 2026 with the remaining operations in the underground workings expected to cease in 2031.

The Zibulo North Shaft project was approved by the board in 2023 and will extend the life of the Zibulo operation, enabling access to the Zondagsfontein West reserves and the production of 8Mt run-of-mine coal per annum through to 2038.

The construction of the Zibulo North Shaft has commenced, and the project is progressing well. The completion of the project is anticipated in 2026.


Thungela Resources Limited 100 % Indirect
Zibulo Mine is wholly owned by Thungela Resources.

Thungela Resources Holdings holds a 27% interest in Anglo American Inyosi Coal Proprietary Limited (AAIC). Effectively, Thungela owns 100% of AAIC.



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Deposit type

  • Sedimentary


The Zibulo Colliery is an underground and opencast mini-pit thermal coal mine.

Zibulo Colliery falls within the Springs-Witbank Coalfield, that comprises of sediments of the coal-bearing Ecca Group of the Karoo Sequence, which were deposited on an undulating pre-Karoo floor which had a significant influence on the nature, distribution and thickness of many of the sedimentary formations, including the coal seams. Locally the general lithological profile, up to, and including the deepest mine-able coal seam, comprises of soft overburden overlying coal seams 5 (shallowest) to 1 (deepest) (Licebo Environmental and Mining (Pty) Ltd, 2018). Below the No 1 coal seam is the basement, comprising a diamictite of glacial origin (Licebo Environmental and Mining (Pty) Ltd, 2018).

The entire sequence has been extensively intruded by pre-Karoo dolerites (for the regional area). The Ogies dolerite dyke runs in an east-west orientation across the centre of the Zibulo opencast mining area (Licebo Environmental and Mining (Pty) Ltd, 2018). Two other dolerite dyke intrusions were identified on the eastern edge of the project area running in a north to south direction.

Zibulo OC
Zibulo OC is located in the Witbank Coalf ield where typically five coal seams are present. However, at Zibulo OC only three seams occur, ie from bottom, the No 1 Seam, the No 2 Seam and the No 4 Seam at the top. The No 5 Seam has been eroded and the No 3 Seam is not present. The No 4 and No 2 Seams both contribute to the colliery’s export product.

Zibulo OC is sub-divided into two distinct domains, north and south, by the SFF pipeline servitude. No faults or dolerites are present in the area. Granted WULs to mine the wetlands to the east and south are available.

Zibulo UG
Zibulo UG is located in the Witbank Coalf ield where five coal seams are present. These consists of, from bottom, the No 1 Seam, sequentially to the No 5 Seam at the top, with inter-seam partings consisting of mainly siltstone and sandstone, with thicknesses ranging between 1 m and 20 m. The No 2 Seam is currently the underground contributor to the colliery’s export product.

Pre-Karoo paleo-highs influence the No 2 Seam thickness and elevation, particularly where the seam truncates against these paleo-highs.

The No 4 and No 5 Seams are declared as RoMP, and are considered to be economic Coal Resources for future mining, with the select No 4 Seam as a domestic product and the highly vitrinitic No 5 Seam as a possible metallurgical coal. However, the No 5 Seam potential is restricted by thickness, weathering and extensive sill influence.

Faulting is minimal across Zibulo UG except for the major graben structure in the north, striking east-west across the colliery. The graben consists of a series of sub-parallel faults with varying throws along strike. The graben was also intersected in the neighbouring underground workings of Khutala Colliery and has a magnetic signature clearly visible on the aeromagnetic survey. Five fence line patterns were drilled to better define the extent of the graben at Zibulo UG.

Dolerite intrusions and associated stringers occur throughout the area and large sills appear close to the surface affecting mostly the No 5 Seam.



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Mining Methods


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Crushers and Mills

Milling equipment has not been reported.



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Coal (thermal) Mt  ....  Subscribe  ....  Subscribe  ....  Subscribe  ....  Subscribe5.
All production numbers are expressed as clean coal.

Operational metrics

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Production Costs

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Heavy Mobile Equipment


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Mine Management

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Aerial view:


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