Independent energy trader Gunvor Group Ltd has gained access to anthracite coal produced by South Africa's Leeuw Mining and Exploration and to export capacity at Richards Bay Coal Terminal, Leeuw said on Thursday.

Gunvor, which started trading coal in 2009, will become a key shareholder in South African mining start-up firm Keaton through Gunvor affiliate Plusbay Limited.

Gunvor are sponsoring the whole transaction, said Willie Leeuw, chief executive officer of Leeuw Mining.

Gunvor declined to comment.

Off-take agreements for the anthracite, a type of coal used principally for steelmaking, have already been signed with Brazilian firms, he said.

Keaton Energy announced on February 14 that it would, in a two-stage transaction, refinance and buy 74 percent of Kwa Zulu Natal anthracite exporter Leeuw Mining. .

Leeuw Mining, in common with most of South Africa's junior anthracite coal miners, had for many years sold its output to trading firm Glencore, whose prefinancing was a vital support to small miners, Leeuw said.