Continental Coal has commenced mine development activities at its Penumbra coal project in South Africa.

According to the company, the civil and earthworks associated with the initial box-cut excavation, terracing and pollution control works will be completed over the next three months.

This project is the company’s third thermal coal mining operation in South Africa, producing 500,000 tons per annum of a high quality export thermal coal product.

Continental Coal said the activities at the project site are now scheduled to increase significantly over the rest of 2011 as major civil and development works are progressed on site.

The coal project is expected to begin full production in the third quarter of 2012, and the run-of-mine production from the project is forecast to increase to the targeted annual rate of 750,000 tons.