According to the company, the winding up of coal operation will help it make a positive impact on climate change as it will curb greenhouse gas emissions.

Total CEO Patrick Pouyanne previously said that the company has signed a letter urging governments around the world to introduce a pricing system for carbon emissions.

Total marketed 8.5 million tonnes of coal in 2013, with more than 80% of production coming from South Africa and most of it was sold to Asia.

Pouyanné said: "It was a matter of both consistent strategy and our credibility. Faced with the issue of climate change, Total is committed to promoting the use of natural gas, the cleanest fossil fuel, especially compared to coal, which emits twice as much greenhouse gas when used to generate power.

"In addition to withdrawing from mining, we have also decided to divest our coal marketing operations. By end-2016, we will no longer be involved in the coal business."