UPDATE 1-Exxaro signs Medupi coal supply deal with Eskom

* First coal to be supplied to Medupi by Q2 2012

* Deal to supply Medupi with 14.6 mln T of coal/year

(Adds details)

JOHANNESBURG, March 31 (Reuters) - South African diversified miner Exxaro Resources EXXJ.J said on Wednesday it had signed a definite agreement with power utility Eskom [ESCJ.UL] for the supply of coal for its planned Medupi power plant.

The agreement was under review after Eskom had asked Exxaro to examine parts of the contract, including the coal price escalation mechanisms and the delivery ramp-up. [ID:nGEE5B705A]

The 4,800 MW Medupi power plant is Eskom’s first new power plant in two decades, with the first of its six 800 MW units expected to be commissioned by April 2012.

“The delivery of first coal is planned for the second quarter of 2012 with a ramp-up to full production by 2015,” Exxaro said in a statement.

The company said it had resumed the funding programme and placement of contracts for the Grootegeluk expansion project, meant to feed Medupi an average of 14.6 million tonnes of coal per year over a period of 40 years.

Exxaro said last month that the delay had raised the cost of the expansion project 9.5 billion rand ($1.29 billion) from 9 billion estimated previously.[ID:nLDE61O03X]

Medupi will help ease a chronic power shortage in South Africa, where a near collapse of the national grid in early 2008 forced mines and smelters to shut for days and cost the biggest economy in Africa billions of dollars. [ID:nLDE6211XC] (Reporting by Agnieszka Flak; Editing by James Macharia)