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The Klipspruit mine is majority owned by BHP Billiton Energy Coal South Africa, a subsidiary of BHP Billiton. The mine is located 30 km west of Witbank in the Ogies District of the Mpumalanga Province. BHP Billtion describes the coal produced at the mine as being "a medium rank bituminous thermal coal, most of which can be beneficiated for the European or Asian export market."
BHP Billiton states on its website that the mine "Klipspruit is the first new coal mine to be established by BHP Billiton Energy Coal South Africa in more than 14 years. The Klipspruit Colliery started in October 2003. Coal is transported 34 km to the Rietspruit wash plant where the export coal is beneficiated and loaded onto trains."
In December 2007 BHP Billiton announced that it and Anglo Coal had formed a 50:50 joint venture to construct the Phola Coal Processing Plant on the Klipspruit mine. The $450 million plant is designed to 16 million tonnes per annum of coal, half from each of the partners. For BHP Billiton the project will facilitate the expansion of the Klipspruit mine to 8 million tonnes per annum and avoid transporting coal to the Rietspruit washery. The Rietspruit washery was closed in early August 2009.
BHP states that based on current reserves Klipspruit has a projected life of 20 years though further exploration work could extend this. Following the establishment of the new processing plant BHP expects that 4 million tonnes per annum of coal from the mine will be exported through the Richards Bay Coal Terminal of which it is part-owner.
In its 2009 annual report BHP Billiton states that "BECSA is the holder of an Old Order Mining Right. An application for conversion to a New Order Mining Right was submitted in 2004 and is still being processed ... The project was approved by the Mpumalanga Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Environment in 2003. An initial mini-pit was started in August 2003 as a truck and shovel contractor operation."