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OVERVIEW and 40 000 tons of lead. Almost a third of the mine’s concentrate output is exported through Saldanha on the West Coast. Vedanta Zinc International’s nearby Gamsberg zinc and lead project is the biggest current mining project in South Africa. The mine, on the road between Springbok and Pofadder, has resources and reserves of 214-million tons. The mine is already having a significant impact on employment for nearby communities. Construction is ramping up in expectation of production beginning in the course of 2018. In the first phase, 4Mtpa of ore will be mined, producing 250 000tpa of zinc concentrate. The mine’s tailing thickener is shown on the left in this May 2018 photograph. The site is a diversity “hotspot” (one of seven in South Africa) so a lot of work has to be done. Vedanta is working with International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and a biodiversity offset agreement has been signed. South African government officials, including the Deputy Minister of Mineral Resources, have visited Vedanta’s Indian headquarters and there are hopes of partnership in fields such as copper smelting zinc beneficiation and captive power generation. Local engineers are expected to travel to India for training as part of the Vedanta global leadership programme. Australian miner Orion is putting considerable resources into investigating the possible revival of the Prieska Zinc-Copper Project. A maiden mineral resource estimate was published in February 2018 and 14 drill rigs (above and below ground) are at work looking in to the site’s prospects. The Prieska Copper Mine was active from 1971 to 1991. Several large wind and solar projects are operational in the area. There is a connection to power and water supplies, good roads, a landing strip and a railway siding on the Sishen-Saldanha railway line is less than 50km away. The Northern Cape Provincial Government is working on helping historically disadvantaged individuals (HDIs) get access to the mining sector. Grants from the Cooperative Incentive Scheme are being given to co-operatives to help them buy mining equipment. The Office of the Premier, in partnership with the National Department of Mineral Resources, has held a workshop for artisanal mine workers on how to conduct legal mining operations. The Swedish International Housing Company is another partner in identifying possible land on which artisanal miners can legally start sustainable mining operations. Land owned by municipalities at Prieska, Niekerkshoop, Marydale and Griekwastad is the focus of these initiatives. Most of the area’s mineral riches are processed outside the province so there are good prospects for investors interested in establish-

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ing value-adding beneficiation plants in a wide range of minerals, from iron ore and manganese to copper and limestone. The National Yo u t h Development Agency (NYDA), the provincial government and Mintek are collaborating on the Prieska Loxion Hub (PLH), which beneficiates tiger’s eye for jewellery and stone cutting products. The Northern Cape provincial government has estimated that procurement by the large mining houses exceeds R18-billion annually. Mining companies have corporate social investment plans but recent engagements such as a Provincial Mining Summit and a meeting between provincial government and mine managers aim to see more benefits accruing to communities. This would involve an increase in the percentage of localised procurement (parts, consumables and services), directing work to companies owned by black people and women, and investment in skills training.

Production Petra Diamonds has recently been reporting increases in production and revenue. Expansion continues at the firm’s Northern Cape property at Finsch and at the Cullinan mine in Gauteng province. Fullyear rough diamond production in 2017 reached 4Mcts (an 8% increase) and the company has a stated goal of getting to about 5.3-million carats by FY 2019.

NORTHERN CAPE BUSINESS 20118/19

Northern Cape Business 2018/19 edition  

Officially supported and used by the Northern Cape Department of Economic Development and Tourism, Northern Cape Business is unique as a bus...

Northern Cape Business 2018/19 edition  

Officially supported and used by the Northern Cape Department of Economic Development and Tourism, Northern Cape Business is unique as a bus...

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