LEPHALALE — There are many speculations in the town about whether Sasol is going to develop and expand here or not. Especially among the general public who are concerned about progress in Lephalale. To clarify the matter, Mogol Post spoke to Alex Anderson, Head of Group Media Relations, Sasol Limited.
Mogol Post (MP): The owner of a respected local Estate Agency informed me that they received information about Sasol being busy with employee housing development in Lephalale. Is that true?
Alex Anderson (AA): No, this information is incorrect. Sasol Mining is currently implementing an employee housing development initiative, but not in Lephalale. The developments are taking place in eMbalenhle and Secunda near Sasol’s operations in Mpumalanga and in Zamdela near Sasolburg in the Free State.
MP: Was Sasol involved in the rehabilitation of a road/roads in/around Lephalale?
AA: Sasol Mining performed road mainte-nance on the D175 gravel road near Steenbokpan between 2010 and 2012 when Sasol transported a small quantity of coal from the Steenbokpan area to be tested at Sasol’s gasification plant in Secunda. Sasol also paid for road maintenance work on the D1675, which was performed by the road authorities during this period.
MP: According to the Lephalale Develop-ment Forum, Sasol doesn’t plan any future activities in the Lephalale/Steenbokpan area and that all projects have been terminated. What are the reasons?
AA: This statement is correct. In line with Sasol’s refined corporate strategy of en-suring long-term sustainability and value, Sasol Mining aims to secure coal feedstock for Sasol’s integrated value chain to 2050 and beyond. Historically, in alignment with Sasol’s foundation business, the need at the time to secure sufficient feedstock supply for potential, new and existing coal-to-liquids (CTL) plants requires that Sasol identify and secure coal resources in South Africa. The Limpopo West Waterberg Region was one such resource identified as a potential opportunity a few years ago. Sasol has had a long history in the Limpopo West Waterberg Region dating back to the early 1950s and invested more than R1,5 billion in prospecting drilling, analysis, bulk samples and coal gasification tests and related business studies. The studies revealed extensive and lucrative coal reserves in the region. However, given Sasol’s strategic shift away from further developing CTL projects and the distance to existing CTL plants, the resources have been deemed unviable for Sasol’s use in terms of its long-term strategy.
Following a number of engagements that were held with the Department of Mineral Resources regarding Sasol’s intention to divest, its pending mining right application was withdrawn earlier this year. In light of this, Sasol Mining will no longer be implementing its planned Limpopo West coal mine and all related activities have ceased.
(It’s always better to know than not to know, and Mogol Post always strives to publish the truth, even if it’s not necessarily what one wants to hear – Ed)