South Africa, as one of the world’s top 10 coal producers, has seen its exports to Europe rise this year as European countries scramble to find alternatives to Russian coal amidst Russia’s attack on Ukraine.
On August 10 this year, Europe will stop importing coal from Russia, and many European countries have started to import coal from South Africa.
Data shows that South Africa ranks first in coal resources in Africa, seventh in coal production and third in exports.
“South Africa produces about 250 million tons of coal, and our export is about, under the normal conditions, 80 million tons,” said Vuslat Bayoglu, CEO of the Canyon Coal.
Bayoglu said that South Africa’s coal exports as a whole would fall this year, but the demand from Europe has increased significantly. In the first five months of this year, European countries imported more than 3.24 million tons of coal from South Africa, 40 percent more than in all of 2021.
South Africa is facing challenges in coal transportation amid surging demand from Europe. At present, the country’s relatively limited rail and road capacity makes it difficult to quickly transport large amounts of coal from mines to ports.
“There are several ports that South African coal producers use. Richards Bay Coal Terminal is one of the largest coal terminals in the world, is the main terminal, and has got a capacity of 91 million tons per annum, but rail capacity is like I said, in 2022, the capacity would be 56 million tons,” said Bayoglu.