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Limpopo Business 2020/21 edition

  • Text
  • Manufacturing
  • Transportation
  • Logistics
  • Sez
  • Agriculture
  • Tourism
  • Africa
  • Africa
  • Province
  • Venetia
  • Province
  • Platinum
  • Provincial
  • Sector
  • Polokwane
  • African
  • Mining
  • Economic
  • Limpopo
The 2020/21 edition of Limpopo Business is the 12th issue of this essential publication that, since its launch in 2007, has established itself as the premier business and investment guide for the Limpopo Province. Limpopo has been attracting significant investments in the mining sector in recent years and the green light for the creation of the Musina-Makhado Special Economic Zone in the province’s far north has attracted several billion dollars. A metallurgical and energy cluster will inaugurate the SEZ, after which investments in agri-processing, logistics and manufacturing are expected to follow. In addition to the regular articles providing insight into each of the key economic sectors of the province, there are special features on transport and logistics, and specific plans that are in place to promote manufacturing in Limpopo. News related to mining, agriculture, tourism, construction and property, water, education and development finance is carried in overviews of the main economic sectors.

OVERVIEW Mining Industry

OVERVIEW Mining Industry analysts and miners are looking at new uses for PGMs. Image: Implats The mining sector in Limpopo lost nearly 20 000 jobs between the fourth quarter of 2018 and the fourth quarter of 2019. A key factor was the slump in the global price of platinum but a later surge in the price of other platinum group metals (PGM) such as palladium and rhodium offset this downturn. The fact that the mining industry was allowed to continue to operate through most of the lockdown that accompanied the Covid-19 outbreak helped to bring some stability back to the sector. In early 2020 rhodium rose to its highest price since 2008, 200/oz, and palladium achieved a new record high of nearly 150/oz. Some mining companies such as Ivanplats discovered that several of the other minerals that are present in their mines (gold, copper and nickel) were also surging in price, causing them to investigate the possibility of ramping up operations at a faster pace. Better prices led to companies such as Bushveld Minerals increasing production. Figures for the company’s Vametco vanadium mine in 2019 were comparable to volumes previously reached two years earlier as they aimed to reach between 2 800 and 2 900 tons of vanadium for the year. With the largest primary vanadium resource base in the world, Bushveld’s long-term goal is to produce 8 400/mtpa. The company Sector Insight BASF is developing an auto catalyst that needs less palladium. runs its own processing and is busy with a feasibility study on a new mine at Mokopane. Investments covering the period to 2025 in the mining sector in Limpopo totalling more than R36-billion have been announced. All but one of the investments is in the Waterberg region. These include: • Modikwa mine (R1.6-billion), African Rainbow Minerals, PGM, Sekhukhune region. • Lejaja mine (R4.2-billion), Lejaja Coal (Resgen), coal. LIMPOPO BUSINESS 2020/21 40

OVERVIEW • Grootgeluk and Thabametsi mines (R5.1-billion), Exxaro, coal. • Lesego mine project (R5.4- billion), Lesego Platinum, PGM. • Platreef mine (R20-billion), Ivanplats, PGM. Other long-standing projects include • Venetia underground project (about -billion to 2023), De Beers Consolidated Mines, conversion of an open-pit operation to underground mining. The mine is the largest producer of diamonds in South Africa. • Booysendal South mine (R4.2-billion), Northam Platinum, PGM. The soils of Limpopo are rich in platinum group metals, coal, copper, diamonds, gold, iron ore, nickel, rare earth minerals and tin. Limpopo contributes 4% of coal mining in South Africa, according to the National Department of Mineral Resources and Energy, but it is likely that within the next three decades, the province will be supplying about half of South Africa’s coal. Limpopo’s Waterberg coal field is estimated to contain about 75-billion tons of coal. Exxaro’s two coal mines in the Waterberg represent threebillion tons of Measured Coal Resources and 1.8-billion tons of Indicated Coal Resources. This is where Exxaro operates its giant Grootegeluk mine. Nine plants serve a 4km-long and 120m-deep opencast mine on a 1 200ha site. Originally intended to supply the nearby power plants, Exxaro is now eyeing the export market with countries such as Ethiopia, Egypt and Pakistan potential markets. By 2023 Exxaro hopes to be producing 60-million tons of coal from its sites in Limpopo and Mpumalanga. Its current annual production is 47-million tons. MC Mining has started selling hard coking and thermal coal from its Makhado coal project in the Soutpansberg coalfield. The mine is 36km north of the town of Makhado and 80km south-east of the Vele Colliery. In 2019 the company signed an offtake agreement whereby Arcelor Mittal will buy between 350 000 and 450 000 tons of hard coking coal per annum. Mineral beneficiation is a key component of the newly accredited Musina-Makhado Special Economic Zone (SEZ) in the far north of Limpopo and coal is needed for the making of steel. In 2018 nine Chinese companies committed to investing more than -billion in projects related to the zone’s four main areas of activity: a coking plant, a power plant, an alloy factory and the manufacture of steel. The planned Tubatse Platinum SEZ will focus on mining, as its name implies. According to the Limpopo Economic Development Agency (LEDA), 17 new mines were established in the greater Tubatse/ Burgersfort/Steelport area between 2001 and 2016, and a further 22 new mines are planned. The focus at Tubatse will be on the beneficiation of platinum group metals, magnetite, vanadium and chrome. The other strong mineral focus in the eastern part of the province is at Phalaborwa where Palabora Copper, a subsidiary of Palabora Mining Company, produces about 45 000 tons of copper annually, most of which is sold domestically. It runs a smelter and a refinery and also mines magnetite, vermiculite sulphuric acid, and nickel sulphate. Projects and plans Important as the coalfields of the Waterberg are, the area is clearly not only about coal. A PGM project with enormous potential is also in preparation in the Waterberg, on the Northern Limb of the Bushveld Complex about 85km north of Mokopane. Image: Implats 41 LIMPOPO BUSINESS 2020/21

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