Magazine article African Business

Manganese Shores Up Black Mining Companies

Magazine article African Business

Manganese Shores Up Black Mining Companies

Article excerpt

Despite lower global demand for most mining products, the black empowerment firms that have invested in South Africa's manganese sector over the past two years are making strong progress.

Most have formed joint ventures with the established mining companies that dominate an industry heavily dependent on a single area in the Northern Cape. To take one example, Ntsimbintle Mining, which represents local communities in the Northern Cape itself, works alongside industry giant Samancor Manganese in developing mines in the region. Samancor is owned by BHP Billiton (60%) and by Anglo American (40%),

Another key newcomer is Kalagadi, which has formed a joint venture with Arcelor Mittal of India to develop a R4.2bn ($41.5m) mining project near Hotazel in the Kalagadi Manganese Basin. First production on the 2.4m ton reserve is due in 2010, with commercial operation expected to continue for a minimum of 20 years.

Kalagadi is 80% owned by Kalahari Resources, a firm mainly owned by black female South Africans, while the remaining 20% is held by the state owned Industrial Development Corporation (IDC). Apart from mining, the joint venture will construct a sinter plant on site and a smelter plant at the new Coega industrial zone in the Eastern Cape.

African Rainbow Minerals (Arm), which describes itself as a 'diversified black empowerment miner', announced a plan in 2005 to double its production of manganese and other minerals by 2010. In December, Arm's chief executive Andre Wilkens confirmed: "We are on schedule with that. …

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