The new shaft will be located in the north-east of the Secunda complex, and replace the current Twistdraai Colliery shaft system that has reached its economic limit.

Sasol Mining managing director Hermann Wenhold said the company has entered a period of intense capital replacement and will replace 60% of its operating capacity in Secunda in the next eight years.

"This capital replacement comes at a total cost of R14 billion," added Hermann.

"The Thubelisha shaft is the first milestone in this large scale project."

The shaft, will have a total conveyor belt length of 20km, and see surface buildings, coal conveyance infrastructure, workshops and a full shaft system.

Thubelisha will be destined to deliver more than 8 million tons per annum (mtpa) over a lifespan of 25 years, from a maximum of 12 coal production sections.

The company expects the new shaft will extend the life of the Twistdraai Colliery beyond 2039, and supply coal to Sasol Synfuels for its export and domestic business.