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10 months ago

Opportunity Issue 100

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  • Carbon
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  • Limpopo
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  • Economic
  • Mining
Opportunity magazine is a niche business-to-business publication that explores various investment opportunities within Southern Africa’s economic sectors and looks to provide its readers with first-hand knowledge about South African business. Opportunity also looks to present South African business to international markets that may have interests in investing in South Africa. The publication is endorsed by the South African Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SACCI).

MINING AND SMELTING

MINING AND SMELTING Sharing knowledge, skills and experience The Chief Corporate Social Responsibility Officer of Glencore Alloys, Conroy van der Westhuizen, shares insights into the company’s core values. of steel, you add ferrochrome and some nickel to provide the stainless steel characteristics. The Steelpoort LED Hub was launched in 2021. What is the extent of Glencore Alloys' operations in South Africa? Glencore Alloys has mining and smelting operations in South Africa. Mining takes place along the Bushveld Igneous Complex just outside Burgersfort and Steelpoort with three chrome mining operations, Magareng, Thorncliff and Helena. Around Rustenburg we have the Kroondal chrome ore mine. The Waterval mine is in care and maintenance at this stage. In terms of the smelting operations, we have one of the world’s biggest ferrochrome smelters just outside Steelpoort in Limpopo. The Lydenburg smelter is in care and maintenance and we have three smelters around Rustenburg, Boshoek, Rustenburg and Wonderkop. Glencore also has the Rhovan vanadium mine and smelter operation just outside Brits in the North West. We have a carbon division in Witbank where we produce electrode paste for use in ferrochrome smelters. Is Glencore looking to generate power? Glencore Group is one of the companies leading the advance towards a greener economy and the decarbonisation. In South Africa we are investigating initiatives in solar power. What is ferrochrome used for? Ferrochrome is predominantly used in the stainless steel industry. Almost 80% of the world’s chrome ore is found in South Africa and South Africa used to be the world’s biggest producer of ferrochrome. Ferrochrome is an ingredient that you add into steel and it provides the characteristic of making steel stainless rust resistant. Stainless steel is used in a number of alloys, especially for high-tensile strength steel in the aviation or medical industry. Depending on the grade What proportion do you export and use domestically? At this stage there is only one stainless steel manufacturing operation in South Africa. I would say 95% of ferrochrome produced in South Africa is exported to the stainless steel producers around the world but mainly to China. South Africa could make a huge investment in job creation since we’ve got iron ore reserves in the Northern Cape and we can produce steel in South Africa. We have on a number of occasions said that South Africa is actually exporting jobs to competing countries while we have the lion’s share of ferrochrome ore in the soil in South Africa. How many employees do you have in South Africa? At this stage, 12 000 employees and about 8 000 contracting employees. What are the objectives of the Glencore Alloys enterprise development programme? We are passionate about creating local entrepreneurs. One of our core values is responsibility and another is entrepreneurship. Where we operate, we also share knowledge, skills and experience so that local emerging enterprises can partner with other service providers. Most of our operations are in rural communities. We encourage our suppliers to partner with local entrepreneurs to impart that knowledge, skills and business acumen. We have also constructed four new business incubation hubs in the areas where we operate so that local entrepreneurs can attend classes which are provided by a service provider and by the Gordon Institute of Business Science (GIBS). We don’t just invite local entrepreneurs to provide a product or service, we build their capacity and experience and we afford them the opportunity to understand the industry in which they are operating, including safety issues. Entrepreneurship is a core Glencore value and we encourage that creative spirit among our local communities, where they can then also apply an entrepreneurial skill to provide a product or service. This is what we do in terms of supplier development. In terms of enterprise development, we partner with local entrepreneurs who are not necessarily going to provide a product or service to our operations but we assist them financially or with equipment to, for instance, invest in recycling initiatives. We have recently assisted a young person outside Burgersfort who is quite skilled in doing leather products, we’ve got ladies who are doing 38 | www.opportunityonline.co.za

personal protective equipment (PPP) and we have a number of farming initiatives. We are also focusing on farming initiatives. We realised that, addressing one of the key challenges in South Africa, food security, we need to shift our focus to self-sustainability. We are also now moving towards aquaculture. Around our Rustenburg and Steelpoort operations in the coming year we would like to establish a number of aquaculture farming initiatives. What other initiatives does Glencore support? When President Ramaphosa presented his national strategic plan on gender-based violence, Glencore was one of the first companies that heeded that call. We are supporting the Thuthuzela Care Centres around our operations and are constructing a new Thuthuzela Care Centre at the Dilokong Hospital outside Burgersfort. How many business incubation hubs do you have? There were four hubs, at Rustenburg, Steelpoort, Bethanie (at Rhovan, the vanadium operation) and at the Lydenburg smelter, but with the smelter being placed under care and maintenance we had to close that hub. Why have you partnered with Regoapele Capital at the hubs? Regoapele Capital provides local business incubation for entrepreneurs which is in keeping with our aim of promoting local business. It’s entirely logical to support enterprise development by getting a small business to run the enterprise development programme. This service entails taking local entrepreneurs through understanding business, including establishing if they really have the personal make-up of a business person. Secondly, there is a skills assessment and a number of modules are presented: business plan, tax registration, letter of good standing, how to access capital or how to apply for loans and how to pay them back. Also, through our business incubation initiatives, we give tips on how to access some of the grant funding or enterprise and supplier development funding that we make available. It is an all-encompassing business and that’s why we like the name “incubation” because you incubate an emerging enterprise that has not been around before. Vuthu Singo, graduate in mining, Kroondal Mine, Rustenburg. Many emerging enterprises fail because they haven’t the necessary skill set to conduct a business. First of all, this must be done with integrity which is aligned to the values that we uphold, to do so safely and to look after your employees first of all, and not just be a profit driven. Ultimately they must provide a good quality service at the right cost and uphold the human rights and the labour laws of South Africa. Are you playing a role in the development of Fekatgomo Tubatse Special Economic Zone (FT SEZ)? In 2009 our intention was to partner with a number of mining peers in the Steelpoort area to establish a world-class mining supply park. This would afford companies coming from outside an opportunity to have good infrastructure. Once they established themselves, they would then partner with local entrepreneurs to ensure that a local skills base is established and expanded over time. Our partners did not see the inception through so in 2010 Glencore went ahead and invested around R100-million to build the mining supply park. We said we would like to see local entrepreneurs partnering with suppliers to set up shop there. The park has grown to the extent that now the Limpopo Provincial Government is envisioning the establishment of an SEZ, and the mining supply park will be an anchor component. We’ve met with the Limpopo Economic Development Agency (LEDA), the Office of the Premier as well as with the Department of Trade, Industry and Competition (DTIC) and we’ve had visits from two deputy ministers and the Department of Mineral Resources and Energy (DMRE) with the launch of the zone. At this stage we are at the forefront, as a private sector institution, of driving economic investment in the Limpopo province. What we have done already is leading towards the future that we are now seeing. Conroy van der Westhuizen, Biography Conroy grew up in the Karoo town of Laingsburg, attended high school in Worcester in the Boland and earned a Higher Diploma in Education from Hewitt College in Cape Town. He later completed a Master’s degree in systems thinking from the Graduate School of Business (UCT). After a spell of teaching Conroy joined Iscor. Training included a stint Germany and he moved up from shift foreman to shift superintendent. In 2006 he was approached by a company converting ferrochrome to low-carbon ferrochrome. In 2007 he joined Xstrata which was later bought by Glencore. After spells as departmental manager, operations manager and works manager he was promoted to general works manager for the Lydenburg smelter. He headed the smelting operations until 2019 when moved to head office as the Chief Corporate Social Responsibility Officer. www.opportunityonline.co.za | 39

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