Kudumane Manganese Mine is owned by Kudumane Manganese Resources, a joint venture between two Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment (BBBEE) companies, Dirleton Minerals & Energy and Northern Cape Manganese Company (NCMC).
Kudumane Manganese is currently developing its own mining operation in one of South Africa’s poorest regions,
near Hotazel in the Northern Cape Province.
The mining operation is set to produce manganese from the rich deposits that characterise the region, located about a kilometre from Hotazel and about 50 kilometres from Kuruman.
The R1.5 billion (US$145million) project will consist of both open-pit and underground mining, with intention of shipping an initial 1.5 million tonnes of manganese both by road and rail to the harbour at Port Elizabeth each year. The project will be in full operation towards the close of 2013, with the first phase being bulk sampling activities followed by production.
Production of manganese ore from the project is expected to eventually increase to two million tonnes per annum and later to 2.5 million tonnes per annum, with the introduction of underground operations in 2019. The expected life of the mine is 10 to 15 years for the open pit or combination mining operations, after which underground mining will continue for an estimated 30 years
The development is set to make the Coega Industrial Development Zone (CIDZ) and Deepwater Port, in Port Elizabeth the preferred exit point for the mine’s production, once it is operational.
In addition to the open-pit and underground mine, the project infrastructure also entails a combination of both a crushing and screening plant, mine residue disposal storage and facilities, and various support infrastructure services. Additionally, a 5.3 kilometre railway siding, an automated 3,500 tonnes per-hour rapid loading station and road trucks with a loading capacity of 300 tonnes per hour.
Construction of a sintering plant which is set to allow the mine to ship out ore after undergoing the pre-smelting process will commence at a later stage, while roads, housing, schools and a hospital in and around Hotazel is currently underway.
The company has made a commitment to offer equal opportunities in addition to supporting of the mining charter, and being the leader in transformation. The company is also set to employ 80 percent of its workers from the local community with the aim of ensuring that through skills transfer, 100 percent will be sourced from the local community in future.
The initial bulk of the workers are set to be recruited from the region’s John Taolo Gaetsewe District Municipality, followed by the other parts of Hotazel and the rest of the province following later. Up to 500 people are set to be part of the construction phase.
Under the Mining Charter in South Africa, companies should work together and pool their resources in order to maximise the benefit to a specific area along with the host communities, hence the company is negotiating with other mines to see what is already in place and at the same time talk to the host community to see what still needs to be done.