Business Maverick

Business Maverick

Top South Africa Coal Miner Extends Rally as EU Eyes Russia Ban

Sasol's Secunda coal-to-liquids plant in Mpumalanga. Despite South Africa’s battles with energy security, a powerful coal-mining lobby and a sympathetic energy minister have proved to be stumbling blocks to the rapid roll-out of wind and solar energy. (Photo: Waldo Swiegers / Bloomberg)

Thungela Resources Ltd., South Africa’s largest exporter of coal burned in power stations, extended its share-price rally after a report that the European Union is working to end imports of the fuel from Russia.

The EU plans to propose a mandatory phaseout of Russian coal supplies in response to reports that Russian forces committed apparent war crimes in Ukraine, Bloomberg News reported. Thungela could benefit as nations scramble to arrange alternative sources of thermal coal.
Coal miner Thungela climbs to fresh record

Its shares jumped as much as 9.6% to a record in Johannesburg, taking their winning streak to a fifth day. Thungela, carved out of global mining giant Anglo American Plc last year, has advanced more than 90% since Russia invaded Ukraine on Feb. 24.

“If the demand for coal within the energy complex remains high and if the EU decides to ban imports from Russia, other players with some kind of optionality to be able to fill that gap, players like Thungela, will benefit,” said Lester Davids, an analyst at Unum Capital Ltd.

Shortcomings in South Africa’s rail network may hobble Thungela’s ability to move additional coal abroad. Last year, more than $2 billion in potential coal, iron ore and chrome exports were lost because contracted volumes couldn’t reach ports, according to the Minerals Council South Africa.

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“It would be very challenging to replace the coal flows from Russia to Europe,” said Ben Davis, a mining analyst at Liberum Capital Ltd. in London. “South Africa could in theory contribute, but no one is expecting any miracles given the logistical constraints on rail.”

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