6 months ago

Mpumalanga Business 2021-22


OVERVIEW Mining The revival of Matla coal mine will cost R3.3-billion. Mining contributes 25.9% of the province’s gross domestic product and employs more than 53 000 people. Expansion projects by several miners are underway, including South32, Exxaro Resources, Pan African Resources and Canyon Coal. Mpumalanga accounts for 83% of South Africa’s coal production and is the third-largest coal-exporting region in the world. Although renewable energy is catching on in South Africa, there is no prospect of Mpumalanga’s coal-fired power stations being mothballed soon. National utility Eskom will spend R3.3-billion on the revival of the Matla coal mine. The mine was put on care and maintenance in 2016 but expectations are that it should be able to produce more than 10-million tons per annum by the second half of 2024. Exxaro Resources will manage the project and do the mining while major companies such as DRA, Worley, Sandvik and WBHO will also be involved. Other companies engaged in expansion of life-of-mine projects are Pan African Resources and Evander (Elikhulu tailings), Exxaro Resources (Leeuwpan) and South32, which is spending about R4.3-billion at Klipspruit. Menar, which has several operations in Mpumalanga via Canyon Coal and Kangra, will spend about R600-million the first phase of its De Wittekrans asset near Hendrina, the open-cast operation. The second phase would entail going underground to dig for coal. Kangra intends reopening the Savmore/Maquasa coal mine which was closed because of the global lockdown in 2020. The sod-turning ceremony of another new mine at Mabola in the Wakkerstroom area was supposed to happen in March SECTOR INSIGHT Credit: Implats A court order has stopped a proposed new coal mine in the Wakkerstroom area. 2021, but an urgent court order put a stop to Uthaka Energy’s plans. Environmentalists have argued that the province should not have revoked the area’s protected status as important wetlands stand to be affected. The multi-year legal battle looks set to contiue. Uthaka Energy was previously known as Atha- Africa Ventures, a local subsidiary of the India-based Atha Group. Arnot coal mine has signed a contract for underground mining services with Boipelo Mining Contractors worth R3.2-billion. Boipelo comprises Middelburg-based Amandla TM (51%) and Murray & Roberts Cementation (49%). South32 sold its South African Energy Coal (SAEC) business to black-owned Seriti MPUMALANGA BUSINESS 2021/22 32

OVERVIEW Resources in 2019 but in 2021 also agreed to make 0-million available to enable Seriti to restructure some of the coal assets and to rehabilitate others. Afrimat is listed on the JSE in the “Construction and Building Materials” section, but the company has shown an appetite for acquiring mines in order to diversify. In May 2020 Afrimat made a bid for control of Unicorn Capital Partners (previously Sentula Mining) which controls the Nkomati Anthracite mine in Mpumalanga. The mine, which is in the southeastern corner of the province, has proven resources of 8.7-million tons and upwards of 400 jobs were created over the last two years. Local communities have a 16.1% stake in the re-launched mine and the Mpumalanga Economic Growth Agency (MEGA) holds 34%. Platinum Platinum is an important mineral for the modern economy. Two Rivers is a joint venture between Implats (46%) and African Rainbow Minerals which is located on the southern part of the eastern limb of the Bushveld Igneous Complex, 35km south-west of Burgersfort in Mpumalanga. Northam Platinum, which has assets on both limbs of the Bushveld Igneous Complex, has purchased the Everest mine from Aquarius Platinum. Everest is adjacent to Northam’s existing Booysendal mine. Jubilee Platinum has sold its Smelting and Refining business in Middelburg to Siyanda Resources. Sylvania Platinum now has seven PGM recovery plants that extract chrome from tailings on both sides of the Bushveld Igneous Complex. Lydenburg is home to the Lion ferrochrome smelter that is a joint venture between Glencore and Merafe Resources. Assmang, the joint venture between ARM Ferrous and the JSE-listed Assore, operates a chrome mine (Dwarsrivier) and a ferrochrome plant where chrome alloys are made. Training Most of the province’s mining companies are involved in training. The Colliery Training College (CTC) in Emalahleni is owned by ONLINE RESOURCES Colliery Training College: Minerals Council South Africa: National Department of Mineral Resources: South African Institute of Mining and Metallurgy: a consortium of companies: Exxaro, Glencore, Kangra Coal, South32 and Izimbiwa Coal. The centre offers a broad range of artisan training, including auto electrician, fitting and turning and millwrights. CTC has been recognised as a leader in artisan training by the National Skills Authority. Coal giant Exxaro, which runs five mines in the province, has committed R3.8-billion to its Belfast project, an investment that will create 1 160 jobs and have an impact on the GDP (over the life of the mine) of R39-billion. After Exxaro Coal Mpumalanga’s transfer of its 50% stake in the Arnot coal mine to mineworkers at no cost, the workers received a further 5% “free-carry” because of the specifications of Mining Charter III. The mine thus becomes South Africa’s first majority workerowned mine. Wescoal is the other shareholder and operator of the mine. The opening in April 2019 of Sasol’s Impumelelo Colliery south-west of Secunda was the final phase of an investment in new coal mines to replace three coal mines that had reached the end of their lives. Sasol produces 40-million tons of coal annually. Impumelelo, which will produce 8.5-million tons per year, cost R5.6-billion to build. State coal company AEMFC (African Exploration Mining & Finance Corporation) runs a colliery at Vlakfontein near Ogies and is planning to develop other projects. South32 has four collieries and three processing plants in the province. ■ 33 MPUMALANGA BUSINESS 2021/22

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