Mining A public mining company is planned in the Northern Cape.
Photo: Anglo American
he Premier of the Northern Cape has announced that his administration wants to “vigorously pursue the possibilities of establishing a Northern Cape State Mining Company”. This company will do prospecting, apply for licences and look for investments on behalf of the people of the Northern Cape. The Northern Cape Economic Development, Trade and Investment Promotion Agency (NCEDA), the province’s investment agency, is tasked with researching feasibility. Base metals are showing great potential and it is in that sector that any public mining company would likely be active. The world market for base metals (which includes zinc and nickel) is in good shape because of trends in the energy and automotive markets and the fact that the global supply of copper is expected to decline. One of those base metals, manganese, is finding its ways to ports much more rapidly and in greater bulk thanks to a concerted effort by Transnet Freight Rail (TFR). In 2019 TFR announced a ninth manganese mining freight contract. The decision to rail manganese to a variety of South African ports, rather than being limited to Port Elizabeth, led to 14.5-million tons of the metal being transported in 2018, a massive increase on the five-million tons achieved in 2012. The target is 16-million tons. The other reason TFR is able to cope with such volumes is the incredible Sishen-Saldanha train, which continues to set world records in terms of length of train and volumes. The latest is 375 wagons NORTHERN CAPE BUSINESS 2020/21
Sector Insight Transnet Freight Rail is ramping up manganese volumes. carrying 63 tons each and seven of the 49 weekly trips on this line have been given over to manganese, the balance being devoted to iron ore. The biggest new mine in the country is a zinc mine at Aggeneys, the Gamsberg project of Vedanta Zinc International, which will deliver 600 000 tons of zinc when phase three is complete. About $400-million has been invested since the project began and the company started trucking product to the Port of Saldanha in 2018. The provincial government is using the mine’s location (and possible future smelter) as