Hopes that new coal plant will bring jobs

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LERATO LELIA

The proposed underground coal gasification project in Theunissen is set to give new hope for employment in the region. The soon to be established Welkom-Theunissen plant is planned to deliver 50MW (megawatts) of power to the national grid. This will supply underground coal gas, from a stranded coal deposit in the Free State. Africary CEO, Johan Brand, says the community is excited about the project.

“We actually had public participation meetings and we were well supported. People from Bloemfontein came to our meetings, the farmers and the local community came to the meetings. We had great discussions, there is big support for development in that area,” said Brand.

Brand added that the project’s environmental impact assessments went well and that they plan to apply for a licence as an independent power producer (IPP). The project is expected to be fully operational in 2016.