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If you are looking for a glimpse into the future of SA coal, look no further than South32’s withdrawal from its local coal business.

South32 was itself spun out of the largest mining company in the world — BHP — in 2015. Just two years later, it began mulling its exit from SA coal. Now it looks like local black-owned player Seriti Resources is in pole position to acquire the business. The two have signed an exclusivity agreement to hash out the details. The numbers have not been finalised but it’s already been agreed that Seriti will pay a “modest” upfront amount and the balance will be deferred and will depend on the movements in export coal prices. And these have fallen off a cliff in 2019. ..

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