Exploration

Exploration in existing operations of our coal business consisted of drilling (diamond core and reverse circulation) with surface geophysical surveys, when required, and downhole geophysical logging. Exploration was primarily conducted on mining right and associated adjacent prospecting right areas and new information has been incorporated into updated geological models and included in the mineral resource statement. Drilling was carried out for production purposes and to improve geological confidence to enhance geological modelling and estimation. These boreholes are depicted in the relevant locality maps in chapter 9 ancillary resource and reserve information by operation. A limited amount of geotechnical and hydrogeological drilling was conducted to improve mine-planning parameters and is included in exploration results (table 19 below).

No exploration was conducted on areas not included in the mineral resource statement.

The execution of focused exploration plans ensures a continuous year-on-year increase in the level of confidence of our coal resources

Table 19: Summary of exploration expenditure for coal

  2016 actual       2017 actual       2018 planning*  
  Boreholes Cost (Rm)     Boreholes   Cost (Rm)       Boreholes Cost (Rm)  
Project or mining operation Number Total     Number Drilling Analyses
and other
Total     Number Total***  
Grootegeluk coal mine**1 83 11,2     133 6,3 14,7 20,9     108 28,1  
Arnot coal mine          
Matla coal mine 192 17,2     87 8,4 2,1 10,5     120 12,5  
NBC coal mine2     12 0,042 0,042      
Belfast coal mine3     0 0 0     40 2,4  
Leeuwpan coal mine     24 2,7 1,5 4,2     9 1,9  
Thabametsi project (mining right)         3 4,2  
Dorstfontein coal mine and adjacent projects 34 2,9     23 1,0 1,5 2,5     67 8,6  
Forzando coal mines and adjacent projects 24 2,9     25 2,1 0,8 2,9     44 7,2  
Tumelo coal mine         2 0,4  
Others (projects not reported on)                          
Total 333 34,2     304 20,6 20,6 41,1     393 65,3  
* Non-committed
** Includes some 2017 analysis backlog
*** Include all associated exploration cost, excluding personnel
Borehole number includes drilling for exploration, geotechnical, hydrogeological, overburden and infill purposes.
1 Conducted more drilling than planned at Grootegeluk for overburden characterisation in front of the advancing pit and improving resource confidence at the Turfvlakte resource area.
2 Conducted additional drilling in 2017 at Eerstelingsfontein (NBC) to outline an additional resource area (~0,5Mt).
3 Drilling postponed at the Belfast project in 2017 due to pending environmental approvals. All approvals have been concluded and drilling to optimise the box-cut areas will proceed.