BDLive reported that KALAGADI Manganese has officially launched its R7bn manganese mining and beneficiation project in the Northern Cape on Friday, with pledges that the mining venture would aim to serve as a model for ensuring that mineral wealth leads to economic development in poverty stricken areas.
The launch of a mine complex, ore preparation plant and sinter plant in Hotazel in the Northern Cape on Friday is a joint venture between Kalahari Resources and Luxembourg-based ArcelorMittal. The projects aims to mine and process more than 3-million tonnes of manganese ore a year, which will ultimately be beneficiated into 320,000 tonnes a year of high-carbon ferro-manganese alloy at a yet to be built smelter in the Coega industrial development zone in the Eastern Cape.
Speaking after the launch on Friday executive chairwoman of Kalagadi and head of Kalahari Resources Daphne Mashile-Nkosi said a mismatch between the mineral wealth of the province and levels of poverty pointed to “something being wrong with our model”. “The project aims to learn from these mistakes,” she said.
Kalahari is in the process of buying ArcelorMittal out of the venture, but has yet to ink a deal.
Kalahari holds 40% of Kalagadi, and ArcelorMittal 50% and the relationship has been tense. Ms Mashile-Nkosi said on Friday “the process has been started and it will be concluded”.
Mining at the site is expected to begin in February 2014, and feed a sinter plant that will process up to 3.7-million tonnes of ore. This is then to be transported to the Eastern Cape to be processed into 320,000 tonnes a year of high-carbon ferro-manganese alloy.
The launch on Friday attracted a bevy of government officials, including President Jacob Zuma, Mineral Resources Minister Susan Shabangu and Economic Development Minister Ebrahim Patel.
Mr Zuma said on Friday that the “Northern Cape is arguably one of the wealthiest in terms of mineral resources in the country, it is still the poorest in a number of aspects, including the availability of infrastructure and even institutions of higher learning”.
“The possibilities created by the discovery of shale gas in the Karoo, of which the Northern Cape forms part, provide yet another opportunity to grow and develop the economy of this province. We are extremely excited about the prospect, because as government we consider hydraulic fracturing for shale gas a “game-change” opportunity for the Karoo region and for our economy at large,” Mr Zuma said in a speech prepared for delivery.
Northern Cape Premier Sylvia Lucas said on Friday the province aimed to convene a summit sometime next year with mining houses in the province to evaluate how company’s were supporting local communities.