Coal of Africa (CoAL) said on Monday the development of its Mooiplaats thermal coal project was proceeding according to plan, with the washing plant to be commissioned in March 2009.

The company said it expects production at the underground mining portals to start by the end of the first quarter of 2009, with the first coal to be sold in the following quarter.

Despite the challenging global economic conditions, CoAL's cash position and the absence of debt ensures the company remains well placed to bring the Mooiplaats thermal coal project and the Vele and Makhado coking coal projects into production within the next two years, Managing Director Simon Farrell said in a statement.

CoAL said it has lodged an application with the Department of Minerals and Energy for a new mining right for the Vele coking project in the Limpopo province.

Subject to the granting of the the mining rights by the ministry, the company expects mining at Vele to start in the second half of 2009.

(Reporting by Agnieszka Flak)

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