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Transnet lifts force majeure on 9 coal exporters

‘To date, nine of the CEPs (Coal Export Parties) have signed the Deed of Amendment – this means that the force majeure on those parties has been lifted,’ Transnet said in a statement.
Image: Waldo Swiegers/Bloomberg

Transnet will this month begin talks on new medium to long-term contracts and has lifted force majeure on nine coal exporters with which it had reached agreement, it said.

In a statement on Tuesday, it said it would “consider its options” regarding an unspecified number of other coal exporters with which it had yet to reach a deal, despite what it said were “good faith negotiations”.

Following a large-scale theft of copper cables, insufficient maintenance, and a lack of locomotives that crippled the company’s freight rail network used by coal and iron ore miners to transport their minerals to port, Transnet in April declared force majeure.

The provision frees both parties of contractual obligations because of exceptional circumstances.

“To date, nine of the CEPs (Coal Export Parties) have signed the Deed of Amendment – this means that the force majeure on those parties has been lifted,” Transnet said in a statement published on Tuesday.

The rail utility did not name the nine coal exporters and did not respond to Reuters’ request for additional information.

Thungela Resources, one of South Africa’s biggest coal exporters, said it was among those still negotiating the proposed contract amendment with Transnet.

“The company remains confident that the amendment will be finalised in the immediate future,” Thungela said in an emailed response to Reuters.

Glencore, another major coal exporter from South Africa, declined to comment. Exxaro Resources, which publishes its six-month financial results on August 18, said it was unable to comment, citing listing rules.

The new contracts under negotiation will replace current contracts, including long-term agreements that expire in March 2024.

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