A freight train carrying iron ore travels along a track near a Rio Tinto Group rail yard in Karratha, Western Australia, Australia, on Wednesday, June 22, 2022. Iron ore is on course to end the week lower, with the increase in Chinese steel plants being idled and swelling inventories seen as signs of stagnant demand. Photographer: Carla Gottgens/Bloomberg via Getty Images

FRESH coal export delays from South Africa are likely to result from a train derailment which operator Transnet announced had occurred today.

The government-owned company said a train carrying export coal en route to Richards Bay derailed outside Intshamanzi, near Ulundi this morning.

“Response teams have been activated and are on their way to the site,” Transnet said in a brief statement. “Customers have been notifed of the incident.”

No injuries have been reported.

Transnet said in October it “remained resolute” in its commiment to rail 60 million tons (Mt) of coal in its current financial year despite a two-week strike in which deliveries of the fuel ground to a standstill.

“With 150 days left we have not revised the 60Mt,” said Ali Motala, managing executive for the North Corridor at TFR (Transnet Freight Rail). As per its contract terms with customers, TFR grades its performance from April to March 2023.

The Minerals Council calculated that including the effects of a recent strike, as well as Transnet logjams, the country would suffer annualised revenue losses of R50bn this year, 43% more than R35bn last year. This covers losses on revenue of iron ore, coal, chrome, ferrochrome and manganese exports.

It said that R151bn could be gained in additional exports, with the concomitant benefits of employment in mining increasing by 40,000 jobs to 500,000, the fiscus benefiting from improved tax revenue and higher revenues for Transnet if all rail and ports systems were optimally and efficiently run at design capacity.


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