NBC is owned 51% by Ndalamo Resource Proprietary Ltd. (Ndalamo) and 49% by Universal Coal and Energy Holdings South Africa Proprietary Ltd. (UCEHSA). UCEHSA is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Universal.
Once the North Block Complex is acquired, NBC will operate on a stand-alone basis, but will be managed by UCEHSA.
The North Block Complex is located in the Mpumalanga Province of South Africa and consists of the Glisa and Eerstelingsfontein operating mines and the undeveloped Paardeplaats prospecting right, which is adjacent to the Glisa mine. It is expected that the Eerstelingsfontein operating mine will be near the end of its life by the time NBC takes ownership of the North Block Complex and that the Glisa operating mine will have a remaining life of mine of approximately two to four years, assuming the transaction is completed on December 31.
The North Block Complex is an open-cast operation and has an average production of approximately 3.5 million tons per year.
Historically, the mined coal has been sold primarily to Eskom for power generation, with a small amount of higher value sized product sold to domestic traders.
The North Block Complex infrastructure consists of a Dense Medium Separation coal beneficiation plant and four crushing and screening plants, two of which will be transferred to NBC and two of which are owned and operated under long-term contracts, a water treatment facility and a rail siding that provides direct access to the Richards Bay Coal Terminal.
Universal said it intends to convert the North Block Complex to a multiproduct operation with the gradual inclusion of the adjacent Paardeplaats project.
The North Block Complex currently employs more than 180 staff and 1,100 contractors.
Universal Chief Executive Officer Tony Weber said, “This strategic acquisition significantly increases Universal’s already robust production profile and importantly, it provides the business with considerable optionality and diversification through exposure to additional high margin export markets.”