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OVERVIEW South32 is simply an offshoot of BHP Billiton, so the Hillside aluminium smelter at Richards Bay run by South Africa Aluminium is now a 100% South32 asset. Most of the product (high-quality primary aluminium ingot) is exported but some liquid metal form is sent to Isizinda Aluminium which supplies Hulamin, a company that has had a rolling mill in Pietermaritzburg since 1949. Hulamin is the only major aluminium rolling operator in the region and it makes rolled products and extrusions. The provincial government has developed a KwaZulu-Natal Mineral Beneficiation Strategy which will be presented to provincial government departments in the course of 2017. Coal and phosphate are thought to be the first areas of focus. Other processing facilities in the province include the steel plant owned by Arcelor Mittal in Newcastle and Safa Steel’s metalcoating factory in Cato Manor. Tata Steel KZN’s high-carbon ferrochrome plant at Richards Bay went into business rescue and then liquidation before being bought by Luxembourgbased Traxys Africa in the middle of 2016, after a court ruled in its favour. Traxys has chrome mines in Mpumalanga and Limpopo provinces. Tata Steel did not have its own mines. RBM mines the mineral sands of the northern KwaZuluNatal coast and operates out of Richards Bay. The main products of the RBM mine are zircon, rutile, titania slag, titanium dioxide feedstock and high-purity iron.

Of the approximately two-million tons of product that RBM has the capacity to produce annually, 95% is exported.

Coal Some of the coalfields of the province have been revived and the export facilities at Richards Bay make a massive contribution to the functioning of the country’s mining sector. Petmin’s Somkhele Anthracite Mine, north of Richards Bay, has one of the biggest reserves of open-pit anthracite in South Africa, with measured and indicated reserves of more than 51-million tons across its four areas. In 2015 the local community of about 175 000 became 20% shareholders in the mine. The Petmin holding company is already “empowered” (ie, 26% black ownership). Buffalo Coal Corporation (which used to be called Forbes Coal) has Canadian roots and has two assets near Dundee: Magdalena Colliery and Aviemore Colliery. The company has two processing plants.

Other minerals Idwala Industrial Holdings quarries and mills white calcitic and dolomitic limestone near Port Shepstone, where NPC Cimpor also runs a quarry which produces sand, shale and limestone. Umzimkhulu Industrial Holdings obtained new mining rights in the course of 2015, from the national Department of Mineral Resources. The company has the rights to mine near Port Shepstone and the provincial government put the value of the investment at R187-million, with the creation of 48 jobs. The northern region has deposits of aluminium and calcitic marble. Some low-grade bauxite is found. Vein gold mining is undertaken near the northern border with Mozambique. The Umzinto goldfield has several sites, but mining has only ever been on a small scale. Sand and aggregate are produced by Vryheid-based WH Lemmon-Warde Holdings, Lafarge and Afrisam. Corobrik has several facilities in and around Durban.

CONTACT INFO Chamber of Mines South Africa: Council for Geoscience: Geological Sciences, University of KZN: National Department of Mineral Resources: Southern African Institute of Mining and Metallurgy:



KwaZulu-Natal Business 2017/18  

KwaZulu-Natal Business 2016/17 is the eighth edition of this highly successful publication that has since its launch in 2007 established its...

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