Kinetiko in conjunction with leading South African coal geology consultants conducted an evaluation of all the South African coal basins for CBM potential. The Amersfoort area of the Eastern Transvaal Coal Field between Johannesburg and Durban was identified as one of the most prospective areas with well documented gassy coal measures. The area is also at the heart of South Africa’s existing energy and power generation infrastructure and within close proximity to major industrial, mining and manufacturing areas.

Kinetiko has acquired a 49% interest in 2 onshore gas licences covering 1,800km2 in the Amersfoort area (Figure 1) under a farm-in agreement with a South African private company Badimo Gas (Pty) Ltd. Under the terms of the agreement Kinetiko will spend ZAR26 million (about A$4m) on exploration. Kinetiko will be the operator and will manage the exploration programs. Subsequent exploration and development expenditure will be met by the companies in proportion to their interest in the licences. Kinetiko’s acquisition of interest in the Amersfoort licences has received Ministerial approval in compliance with Section 11 of the Mineral and Petroleum Resources Development Act (MPRDA) of South Africa. Badimo is a black empowerment controlled entity and consequently qualifies as a BEE partner for the Amersfoort Project.

Figure 1 Location of the Amersfoort Project.

Figure 1 Location of the Amersfoort Project.

Badimo Gas has in addition another 7,086 square kilometers of gas exploration license applications (Fig.2). Badimo is a major participant in the growing CBM industry in South Africa.



The most productive coal measures of Southern Africa are Permian in age contained within the extensive Permo-Triassic basins containing the Karoo Supergroup. These temperate climate coals are generally equivalent to the similarly aged coals of Eastern Australia. At Amersfoort the most significant coal seams are contained within the Vryheid Formation of the Ecca Group. The shales and sandstones of the Vryheid are intruded by dolerite sills and dykes.

The Amersfoort Project is located in the Eastern Transvaal within the coal bearing region of Permian coals that has been supplying a significant portion of Southern Africa’s energy needs for over a century. The Majuba Colliery near Amersfoort was intended to supply the nearby Majuba Power Station; however a range of technical factors, including methane gas, terminated colliery operations in 1993. Exploration drilling for coal during the early 1980’s around Amersfoort area has defined the distribution and depth of the seams beneath the Kinetiko-Badimo CBM licences and the geology of overlying sandstones and intruding dolerite dykes and sills (figure 3). As part of this exploration 854 diamond core holes were drilled on or near what are now the Amersfoort gas exploration licenses.

Figure 3 Cross section of the Amersfoort area based on coal exploration drill holes.

Figure 3 Cross section of the Amersfoort area based on coal exploration drill holes.

Average depths to the most significant coal seams range from 315 to 385m, total coal thicknesses range from less than 1 to 16m. The coals range from high volatile bituminous to medium bituminous. Gas contents of the coals in excess of 10m3/t were measured in studies associated with the various mining attempts (Kavonic, 1987, 1990). The gas contents of the Amersfoort coal seams and the coal geology are described by Sanderson (1997). Gas contents of South African coals in general including in the Amersfoort area are discussed by Bellencamp (1988), Creedy (1996).

The conventional gas potential of the Amersfoort area stems from consideration of the maturation history of the coals. Burial and basin heat flows began the coal maturation but the process would have been on-going and overlapping with the emplacement of the dolerite sills. There is clear evidence of devolatalisation of the coals in proximity to the dolerites (Kavonic et al,1987). During maturation, coals typically generate over 10 times the amount of methane gas than can be retained in the coals (Eddy et al ,1982, Rightmire, 1984). This normally migrates over time from the host sequences. However there is the potential for the dolerites and siltstones to have trapped this fugitive gas in conventional accumulations in the porous sandstones.

Evidence for the conventional gas potential in the Amersfoort area is indicated by the escape of gas that has been occurring from a number of the coal exploration drill holes that have not been sealed. Gas can be seen vigorously bubbling up in the drill holes (Figs 4 and 5), and reports from local farmers indicate this has been occurring continuously since the holes were drilled nearly 30 years ago. The gas is unlikely to be derived by desorption from the coal seams as hydrostatic pressure would be keeping the CBM in place.

Figure 4 Gas escaping from a coal exploration hole at Amersfoort set alight as a demonstration.

Figure 4 Gas escaping from a coal exploration hole at Amersfoort set alight as a demonstration.

Figure 5 Gas bubbling in an Amersfoort coal exploration hole, note water level.

Figure 5 Gas bubbling in an Amersfoort coal exploration hole, note water level.



Gustavson Associates of Boulder, Colorado USA have completed an independent estimate of coal bed methane resources on the Amersfoort license areas for Badimo Gas (Gustavson, 2008). Gustavson Associates ( is a global consulting firm with extensive experience in the technical and economic evaluation of coal bed methane properties in the Rocky Mountain basins, U.S. Midcontinent, and internationally.

Gustavson calculate a P50 Gas In Place (GIP) resource for Badimo’s Amersfoort tenements of 1.7 Tcf and P50 Prospective Resources of 1.12Tcf. Based on the observation of spontaneous gas emissions from coal exploration holes in the Amersfoort area Gustavson also note that conventional gas accumulations associated with CBM resources such as in the San Juan Basin (USA) can add substantially to the gas produced. However the Gustavson estimates do not include any estimate of conventional gas accumulations.

The data and criteria for the Gustavson coal bed methane resource estimates are as follows:

The South African Council for Geoscience provided 854 drill holes drilled on and near the Amersfoort licences, these were used to determine coal depth, thickness and distribution in the licence areas.

  • In keeping with standard industry practice for the potential resources of an area estimates have been made on a probabilistic basis of P50.
  • Coal volumes were calculated from the coal drill hole data.
  • Gas content of the coals was derived from published reports for the area and will be accurately measured in subsequent exploration programs.
  • Porosity values for the estimation of free gas were based on the known coal rank.


Because of the wealth of historical coal data the Amersfoort project already has a significant CBM resources estimated. The abundance of existing coal exploration drill holes means there is limited need for drilling to define coal distribution in greater detail. Exploration will commence with core drilling to recover core from well defined coal sequences for CBM desorption testing and rapidly progress to site selection for production test wells.

Completion of production test wells in tandem with commercialisation studies will then enable the certification of reserves for the project. Kinetiko considers this progression could be achieved in 2013.