8 NATURAL RESOURCES AND COMPETITIVE ADVANTAGES The Kalahari Basin is immensely rich in manganese. The Kalahari Basin is home to between 70% and 80% of the world’s manganese resources. Large quantities of iron ore are railed out of Sishen every day. The website Mindat.org refers to the Kalahari Manganese Field as “one of the geological and mineralogical wonders of the world”, noting also the existence of “mineral specimens that are often rare or unique”. For many years mining of crocidolite was carried out in the Kuruman Hills, and the resource was such that it could have continued for more than the 50 years that it did. However, the other name for crocidolite is blue asbestos so this activity came to an abrupt stop in 1980. In addition to this, the area has a variety of gemstone minerals including tiger’s eye, pictured, amethyst, amazonite, jasper, rose quartz and sugilite. Hotazel is at the centre of a manganese mining hub, with several companies operating mines nearby. Hotazel Manganese Mines (HMM) runs the Mamatwan open-quarry manganese ore mine and sinter plant, the Wessels underground manganese ore mine and a railway terminus. South32 has a majority share in HMM, with Anglo American and local communities holding the balance. Nchwaning and Gloria mines are collectively known as Black Rock and they are owned by Assmang, a joint venture between Assore and African Rainbow Minerals. The company has two other iron-ore mines in the Northern Cape. Several new manganese mines have opened in recent years, including Tshipi Borwa, UMK, Kalagadi and Kudumane. Kumba Iron Ore and its predecessors have been mining iron ore at Sishen since 1953, extracting vast quantities of the resource. Although the land and weather conditions of the region can be harsh, cattle, sheep and goats have been reared succesfully for many years. The Kalahari Red Boer goat is well adapted to conditions. The Northern Cape is South Africa’s sunniest province, and the national programme to encourage investment in renewables has seen the overwhelming majority of solar projects allocated to it. Investors from Spain and Saudi Arabia, among others, have chosen to erect both concentrated solar power projects in John Taolo Gaetsewe District Municipality (such as the Kathu Solar Park) or conventional solar photovoltaic (like the Sishen Solar Park). The Northern Cape is the natural home for the generation of solar power. Long-term annual direct normal irradiance (DNI) is 2 816kWh/m 2 , according to a survey done for Stellenbosch University by Slovakian company GeoModal Solar.
9 LOCAL MUNICIPALITIES Historical sites, natural wonders and meerkat research await visitors to the district’s towns and villages. The urban settlements of John Taolo Gaetsewe District Municipality provide goods and services to the agricultural and mining communities that drive the regional economy. THREE LOCAL MUNICIPALITIES FALL UNDER THE JOHN TAOLO GAETSEWE DISTRICT MUNICIPALITY: GA-SEGONYANA LOCAL MUNICIPALITY • Towns: Bankhara-Bodulong, Kuruman, Mothibistad Kuruman is the administrative centre of John Taolo Gaetsewe District Municipality. Some of the area of the local municipality falls under the traditional authority system, which includes two paramount chiefs and headmen. Most of the district’s businesses are located in Kuruman, which is also the centre of agricultural trading and auctions. Country Inn Hotels, pictured, has three types of accommodation available in the town. Several minerals occur in the area, including the world’s richest deposit of crocidolite and tiger’s eye. A natural reservoir has washed the red oxide out of the local sand dunes. When these white dunes rub against red Kalahari sands, a humming sound is heard. The town is near the Witsand Nature Reserve where this phenomenon is best observed. San rock art paintings and war graves can also be seen near the town. JOE MOROLONG LOCAL MUNICIPALITY • Hotazel, Santoy, Vanzylsrus The Joe Morolong Local Municipality takes up about threequarters of the District Municipality’s area. All that space allows plenty of room for the country’s largest conservation area, the Tswalu Kalahari Reserve. The village of Vanzylsrus is the closest settlement to the Kalahari Research Centre which is a substantial facility within the Kuruman River Reserve with accommodation for 50 scientists and assistants. It is best-known for the Kalahari Meerkat Project which was popularised by the “Meerkat Manor” TV series, which has been translated into more than 20 different languages. Apart from its centrality to the country’s manganese industry, Hotazel has a claim to fame through the title of a book by famous photographer Obie Oberholzer. The Hotazel Years traced the author’s three decades of photographing the subcontinent. According to Oberholzer, Hotazel is the most central point furthest away from all the oceans in Southern Africa. GAMAGARA LOCAL MUNICIPALITY • Dibeng (Deben), Kathu, Olifantshoek Kathu has a 4 000ha camelthorn-tree forest that enjoys national heritage status and gave the town its name. Proximity to the huge Kumba Iron Ore mine at Sishen means that there are facilities that one might not expect in a small, rural town, for example a category-4 aerodrome which is open for public use and an excellent golf course. The 39 000-acre Gamagara Africa Private Nature Reserve is located north of Deben. On the southern edge of the district is Olifantshoek, which lies at the foot of the Lange Mountains.