Logistics Implications in the South African Coal Mining Industry Supply Chain

Ken Mathu


The importance of the South African coal mining industry goes back to more than 100 years. However, the logistics role of the of the coal supply chain since early 1920s when coal started replacing hydro power as a primary source of energy continues to be of significance to socio-economic attributes and of concerns in environmental impacts. The coal transportation modes are conveyor belts, rail, road and water. The South African coal serves both domestic and export markets. The leading industry players are the five leading international resources companies which produces over 80% of the commodity in the country. The companies are BHP Billiton, Anglo American, Xstrata/Glencore, Sasol and Exxaro and they jointly own Richards Bay Coal Terminal which is also the leading coal export terminal in the world. The other 20% of coal is produced by the black economic empowerment companies also known as junior miners. The domestic coal is mainly used for the generation of electricity, production of synthetic-fuels/petrochemicals, as a catalyst in the heavy industries and for cooking and space heating at homes. The coal logistics benefits the communities where the mines and consumers are located, but it also has adverse effects on the environment. These factors are some of the major logistics implications in the South African coal supply chain.

DOI: 10.5901/mjss.2014.v5n20p503

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Mediterranean Journal of Social Sciences ISSN 2039-9340(Print) ISSN 2039-2117(Online)

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