Coal Mining in Africa

Introduction: Here in this section we explore Coal Mining in Africa. In this comprehensive guide, we will explore the rich coal resources found in various locations across the continent. We will delve into the geological aspects, key facts, figures, and the role of coal in Africa’s energy landscape. Let’s embark on a journey to discover the fascinating world of African coal mining.

  1. Locations and Geology: 1.1 Southern Africa:
    • South Africa: South Africa is the leading coal producer in Africa, with vast coal reserves concentrated in the Mpumalanga and Limpopo provinces. Major coalfields include the Witbank, Waterberg, and Highveld coalfields.
    • Botswana: Botswana possesses substantial coal reserves, primarily located in the eastern part of the country, including the Morupule and Mmamabula coalfields.

1.2 West Africa:

  • Nigeria: Nigeria has significant coal deposits in states such as Enugu, Benue, and Kogi. The Enugu Coal District, located in southeastern Nigeria, is particularly noteworthy.

1.3 East Africa:

  • Tanzania: Tanzania has promising coal reserves in the southwest part of the country, near the Rukwa Basin.
  • Mozambique: Mozambique is home to substantial coal reserves, mainly found in the Tete Province. The Moatize coal basin is a prominent coal mining region in the country.
  1. Key Facts and Figures: 2.1 Employment: In 2022, the coal industry in Africa employed a significant workforce, with approximately 90,977 people contributing their skills and expertise to the sector [1].

2.2 Production and Sales:

  • Production Volume: Africa produced an impressive 231.2 million tonnes of coal in 2022, highlighting the substantial scale of coal mining activities across the continent [1].
  • Sales Revenue: The total coal sales in 2022 amounted to R252.3 billion, indicating the economic significance of the coal industry in Africa [1].

2.3 Domestic Consumption and Electricity Generation:

  • Domestic Consumption: More than 70% of the coal volume produced in Africa is consumed domestically, showcasing the crucial role of coal in meeting energy needs within the continent [1].
  • Electricity Generation: Over 70% of the electricity demand in Africa is fulfilled by coal power, underscoring its importance as a primary source of energy for powering industries, homes, and infrastructure [1].

2.4 Richards Bay Coal Terminal (RBCT):

  • Primary Export Port: The Richards Bay Coal Terminal, located in South Africa, serves as the primary export hub for African coal. It plays a pivotal role in facilitating the efficient export of coal to international markets [2].

2.5 Dedicated Rail Line:

  • RBCT Rail Line: The Richards Bay Coal Terminal operates a dedicated rail line, ensuring seamless transportation of coal from various mining regions to the export terminal. This infrastructure enhances the efficiency and reliability of coal transportation [2].

Conclusion: The coal mining industry in Africa is a vital sector that contributes significantly to employment, economic growth, and energy supply. With abundant reserves and key infrastructure such as the Richards Bay Coal Terminal, African coal mining holds immense potential for meeting energy demands and supporting the development of various industries. We hope this resource has provided you with valuable insights into the world of coal mining in Africa.


Yakovleva, N and Vazquez-Brust, D A (2018) Multinational mining enterprises and artisanal small-scale miners: From confrontation to cooperation. Journal of World Business 53(1), 52–62.

Munnik, V. (2010) The Social and Environmental Consequences of Coal Mining in South Africa: A Case Study.

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