$200m manganese mining deal expected to be sealed in South Africa next week – Mineweb

JOHANNESBURG  – The chairman of manganese mining company Tshipi ê Ntle, Saki Macozoma, says he hopes a mining contract with preferred supplier Aveng Moolmans will be sealed next week. The official word from the company is: “The preferred supplier is Aveng Moolmans and all being well the contract will be signed next week.”

Macozoma told Mineweb at a sod turning ceremony at the site in the Northern Cape province, this will enable contractors to commence with removing the over-burden on the R1.5bn ($200m) development. Stakeholders are hoping to reach the high quality manganese by January or February 2012.

“In the meantime, we are also building the infrastructure around here, building a railway loop in order to be able to load the stuff, a crusher …so all of that work is being done on this very site. Were aiming to get our first manganese ore up in April and June (2012).”

He said the mine hoped to produce around 2.4m tonnes of high quality manganese ore per year for the next 60 years, “but of course you need market flexibility. Almost all of it is for export because we want to fit it into the Chinese market, as one of our partners, they are going to smelter also,” the mining magnate said.

Macozomas BEE company announced its construction of the mine, known as Tshipi Borwa, in February 2011. He said at the time that its board had allocated US$200m (R1.45bn) for the creation of the new mine near Hotazel.

It is hoped the project will initially generate 350 new jobs directly by the mine and as many as an additional 2 000 jobs through the provision of goods and services. Macozoma says in his message from the chairman: “We began in 2003, when the South African government introduced new policies aimed at broadening participation in the mining industry. We formed Ntsimbintle Mining to take advantage of this opportunity.” Since then, Macozoma adds, it began to apply for prospecting rights, believing that Ntsimbintle could become a genuine majority black-ownd South African manganese mining company.

It subsequently partnered with, among others, Australian listed Jupiter Mines and London-based Pallinghurst Advisors LLP and Pallinghurst Resources. Singapore-based OMH Holdings Limited, which is also listed in Australia as OMH, will play a significant role in the marketing of the project. The companys international operations include the Bootu Creek Manganese mine in Australia, a ferroalloy smelting facility in China and a successful Singapore-based metals trading arm.

Macozoma says the market for manganese remains positive, even though the world is only slowly emerging from a global recession. The businessman says, steel production, for which manganese is critical has continued to increase, driven by Chinese growth. China produces 50% of the worlds steel and is predicted to be a major customer for South African manganese which is of a higher quality than that mined in China.

Cynthia Mogodi, chairperson of the John Taolo Gaetsewe Developtment Trust which owns 15% of Ntsimbinthle, says its hoped the mine will contribute towards the development of communities in the impoverished Northern Cape Province.

*The sod turning ceremony was attended by a number of local and provincial dignitaries and a media contingent flown to the site from Johannesburg.