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Universal Coal Increases Ownership Of Coal Projects In South Africa

Universal Coal plc (ASX:UNV) has increased ownership of its coking coal and thermal coal projects in South Africa.

It now has a direct ownership of 50% in the Berenice coking coal project from an automatic earn in agreement (via funding the drilling campaigns to date).

As a result of now owning 50% of this project, Universal also un-locks an exclusive option to acquire the balance of 24% (to take a maximum ownership to 74%).

This has resulted in the Universal attributable coking coal tonnes increasing to 750.3 gross tons in-situ of coal.

The Berenice project has a historical total JORC coking coal resource of 1.324 billion gross tons in-situ of coal, which has now been drilled out to pre-feasibility status.

A resource update will be released in February, after a slow turnaround of analytical work by outside third parties.

Roodekop coal project

Additionally, Universal has achieved a direct ownership of 74% in the Roodekop coal project having exercised the option it held over this asset. The option was exercised for a cash consideration of ZAR 5million.

This has resulted in the Universal attributable thermal coal resources increasing to 210.02 gross tons in-situ of coal.

Commenting on the increase in ownership secured at Berenice, Executive director & chief executive officer of Universal Tony Weber said: "We are delighted to have concluded this farm-in agreement to achieve 50% shareholding in the primary Coking properties, with the resultant drilling now allowing for the next phase of development of the Berenice Project".

Universal willl also release details of developments at its Kangala project, having successfully raised its equity capital requirements in December 2012 and with final credit approval received from project debt financier Rand Merchant Bank.

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