Sasol Mining's R3,5 billion Thubelisha Shaft is covered in our lead feature this month. The shaft was officially opened in May by Minister of Mineral Resources Susan Shabangu and is the first of three ‘replacement' projects being undertaken by Sasol Mining in the Secunda area to come on line - the others are Impumelelo and Shondoni. Collectively the projects represent an investment of approximately R14 billion by Sasol Mining. Although it can be viewed as an entirely new mine, Thubelisha is classified as being part of the Twistdraai mine and extends Twistdraai's life beyond 2039.
Another mine to be launched in May - again with Susan Shabangu in attendance - was Kudumane, the latest venture in the Kalahari Manganese Field of the Northern Cape. Backed by Hong-Kong based Asia Minerals Limited, Kudumane - as our article on the project explains - will ultimately be a 2,5 Mt/a operation. Limited mining under a bulk sampling permit is already underway at the site but award of the mining licence - which will allow a transition into full mining - is expected at any time.
Fluorspar - not a mineral we cover too often - is the subject of our article entitled SepFluor plans ambitious fluorspar development. This looks at SepFluor's planned Nokeng mine, 80 km north of Pretoria, which is to be linked to a fluoro-chemical beneficiation complex which SepFluor is proposing to develop at Ekandustria near Bronkhorstpruit. The combined value of the two projects is R2,1 billion and SepFluor believes that construction of the mine will start before year-end with the fluoro-chemical ‘hub' following hard on its heels.
Copper mining in Botswana also gets some attention in this issue, with articles on both Discovery Metals' Boseto copper-silver project, now entering production, and Hana Mining's Ghanzi copper-silver project. According to a just-published Preliminary Economic Assessment (PEA) on Ghanzi, which is about two to three years behind Boseto in terms of development, the project will have an initial capex of US$285,5 million and an average annual production of 31 000 t Cu and 899 000 ounces Ag over a minimum 13-year mine life.
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Sedgman Africa builds up its African capability
Sedgman Africa, the African arm of Australian engineering group Sedgman has been on a recruitment drive for its South African office in order to boost its local capability in terms of engineering design and project execution.
Kudumane - SA's latest manganese venture
A bulk sampling exercise has started at the developing Kudumane manganese mine near Hotazel in the Northern Cape. The project, which will ultimately produce 2,5 Mt/a of Mn ore, will start out as an open-pit operation but eventually transform into an underground mine. A sintering plant is a strong possibility at a later stage of the project.
Saxendrift projects on stream and successful
Rockwell Diamonds Inc has announced the successful completion of two strategic projects, namely the new in-field screen and the bulk X-ray and single particle sorter plant at its Saxendrift mine in the Northern Cape. According to Rockwell, these technologies will likely be used on the new mines it is planning to develop on the Middle Orange River.
Hana Mining launches Ghanzi feasibility study
Based on the results of an independent NI 43-101 compliant Preliminary Economic Assessment (PEA) on its 70 %-owned Ghanzi copper-silver project in north-western Botswana, Vancouver-based Hana Mining has announced that it is now following up with a full feasibility study. Ghanzi is situated in the same area as the Boseto project of Discovery Metals.
Scoping study points to low capex for Malelane
Ferrex plc has announced positive results from an initial Scoping Study on the Malelane iron ore project in Mpumalanga. The study has focused on the development of a 3 Mt/a open-pit operation based on a JORC inferred resource of 154 Mt at 35,17 % Fe. Capex is estimated at a relatively modest US$297 million but the study notes there is a strong opportunity to further reduce capital and operating costs with metallurgical testwork indicating the potential to produce iron concentrate at a significantly lower cost.