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The company also has an option to raise its stake further to 74% in the future, it said in a statement on Monday April 22.

Located in the Limpopo region, Berenice has a total JORC-compliant coking coal resource of 1.35 billion tonnes.

It is also within 30km of existing rail infrastructure, which is currently used to export coal out of the Matola coal terminal.

A pre-feasibility study on the project will start by the end of this year, Universal Coal said.