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Limpopo Business 2021-22

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The 2021/22 edition of Limpopo Business is the 13th issue of this highly successful 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 with commodity prices of certain minerals rising in response to demand in the renewable energy and automotive sector, mining houses are well-positioned to expand production even further. This journal carries messages of welcome to investors from the province’s Premier and the MEC for Economic Development, Environment and Tourism. In addition to the regular articles providing insight into each of the key economic sectors of the province, there is special feature on plans to catalyse investment and growth in the province through measures such as industrial parks and the Musina-Makhado Special Economic Zone in the province’s far north, which is attracting billions of dollars in investment. 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 The world’s biggest opencast PGM mine is set to expand. Commodity prices have buoyed the mining sector in 2021. Rhodium, palladium, platinum and gold collectively rose in price by more than 50% in the course of 2021 and these are all minerals that occur in Limpopo. Increased demand for platinum group metals (PGM) has been a trend for some years, driven by the vital role played by PGMs in reducing pollution in the automotive sector. This has been boosted more recently by applications for renewable energy and now by supply constraints brought about by Covid-19 with production volumes down and shipping made more difficult throughout 2020. Northam Platinum announced a 73.6% improvement in headline earnings for the six months to the end of December 2020. Sales revenue rose by 51.9% to R11.9-billion in that period. In March 2021, Implats announced headline earnings of R14.5-billion, an increase of 328% over the previous year and a reflection of all of these trends. In April 2021 Merafe Resources reported improvement in the production of ferrochrome for the first quarter, up by 3% to 103 000 tons. This was achieved despite Covid-19 protocols and the fact that the Lydenburg smelter was placed on care and maintenance. The improvement was attributed to better efficiency at the functioning smelters. Glencore (with a 79.5% stake) and Merafe Resources jointly own chrome mines in Limpopo on the Eastern Limb of the Bushveld Igneous Complex (Helena, Magareng and Thorncliffe), the Lion smelter complex near Steelpoort and the Lydenburg smelter. New mines and expansion projects Botswana Diamonds told Engineering News in July 2021 that it was “not far off declaring a major resource at Thorny River”. Thorny River is close to the Marsfontein mine, which was a highly profitable mine for De Beers and Southern Era. Botswana Diamonds, whose business address is in the Republic of Ireland and whose registered office is in London, has invested R20-million in exploration projects in South Africa and has started selling diamonds found at Thorny River. Rustenburg Platinum Mines (RPM), a subsidiary of Anglo American Platinum (Amplats), has bought the prospecting rights for two blocks close to its existing Mogalakwena PGM mine, south-west of Polokwane near Mokopane. The blocks were purchased from Atlatsa and provides space to expand what is already the world’s biggest and richest opencast PGM mine in the world. Atlatsa and RPM are in a joint venture which runs the Bokoni mine near Polokwane. SECTOR INSIGHT Many of Limpopo’s miners have announced stellar results. The conversion of the Venetia mine to an underground mine by De Beers Group is one of the biggest investments in Limpopo. Credit: De Beers Group A new mining right has been granted to PTM in the northern limb of the Bushveld Complex. The Waterberg project will be operated by PTM on behalf of Waterberg Joint Venture Resources which comprises Mnombo Wethu Consultants, Japan Oil, Gas and Metals National Corporation, Hanwa Company, PTM and Impala Platinum. Implats intends expanding production at its Two Rivers PGM mine by 180 000oz. The project will take four years and cost R5.7-billion. LIMPOPO BUSINESS 2021/22 32

Driving growth in Limpopo Standard Bank’s experts have insight into the mining sector value chain. Photo by Vladimir Patkachakov on Unsplash At Standard Bank Limpopo we are fervently committed to helping to drive growth in the province. We have invested deeply in expertise, knowledge and infrastructure in various sectors. The mining sector continues to invest in projects in Limpopo. The province is home to rich mineral deposits that include platinum group metals, diamonds, phosphate and copper as well as gold, emeralds and magnetite. South Africa’s mining sector can be both challenging and unpredictable. We understand that mining is a specialised sector that needs specific banking solutions. We have the expertise to cater for banking needs across the mining value chain, whether your business is a producer, minerals processor or service provider to the mining industry. Our central team of sector specialists provides support and in-depth mining sector insight to our dedicated relationship managers across the country. From securing asset finance for mine development to managing your daily working capital needs – with us as your financial partner, you are assured that you are engaging with experts who have insight into what matters most. Agriculture As one of the most productive agricultural regions in South Africa, Limpopo plays a key role in food production for consumption as well as for export. The varied climate of the province allows Limpopo to produce a wide variety of agricultural produce ranging from tropical fruits to cereals and vegetables. We deliver financial solutions for the varied needs of individuals and businesses along the agribusiness supply chain through the experience and deeprooted expertise of our teams. Agriculture is a specialised sector with more than 30 sub-industries, and a vast field of knowledge is required to understand each subsector and how each of these industries’ cycles are integrated. The industry is highly dependent on our understanding the agribusiness value chain and providing appropriate solutions to ensure the success of our clients. There are various types of funding required by an agribusiness. Many subsectors, like the nut industry, export products overseas and require the right foreign exchange and international payment solutions. We don’t believe in simply selling a product to our clients. What is important for us is to understand the unique business needs and match the appropriate solution so as to create value for our clients. ■

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