What makes coal special?

  • Coal was formed in ecosystems during the Carboniferous Period millions of years ago
  • Coal seams exist on every continent
  • Coal has been used in South Africa since the Iron Age when charcoal was used to melt iron and copper
  • Since the 19th century, coal has been the largest source of energy for the generation of electricity worldwide
  • Coal supplies about a quarter of the world’s primary energy (a primary energy is an energy form found in nature that has not been subjected to any human engineered conversion process)
  • About two-thirds of the coal mined today is burned in power stations to make electricity
  • Some iron and steel making and other industrial processes burn coal
  • Coal can be roasted (heated very hot in a place where there is no oxygen) to produce coke – a fuel used in smelting to reduce metals from their ores
  • Coal is a reliable and affordable source of energy and is the source of some of the most valuable chemicals known to man
  • Coal is the cornerstone of South Africa’s energy supply and will continue to play a key role in the country’s economy for many years to come – some 81% of the energy produced by Eskom is generated using coal

HCI Coal – Palesa Colliery [photo]