Black Economic Empowerment’s Northern Cape manganese mine, Tshipi Borwa, has announced that it exported two million tonnes of manganese ore in 2014 and has become the fifth biggest manganese mine in the world.
“This is a very significant achievement, particularly because Tshipi has only been operating for two years,” said Brendan Robinson, Tshipi’s chief executive officer. “Tshipi Borwa Mine is now one of the four largest manganese mines in South Africa and one of the five largest manganese mines in the world.”
Tshipi exported one million tonnes of semi carbonate medium grade manganese ore in its first year of production, and two million tonnes in its second year. “This aggressive production ramp up was achieved in spite of numerous challenges encountered developing the R2.2 billion mine, which included the construction of a state-of-the-art processing plant, railway carriage loading station and railway siding,” said Robinson.
“This unprecedented milestone has been achieved through the sheer determination and unwavering support of our staff, regulatory authorities, Transnet and our principal contractors, Aveng Moolmans, African Mining and Crushing and Fraser Alexander (Bulk Tech). It is a testament to what can be achieved if we work towards the realisation of a common goal,” he added.
Tshipi é Ntle Manganese Mining is a joint venture between Ntsimbintle Mining, Jupiter Mines and OM Holdings. Robinson said that Tshipi’s strategic partnership with OM Holdings, a leading manganese ore and metal producer and marketer, listed on the Australian Stock Exchange, has assisted Tshipi to penetrate the Chinese, Korean and European markets under very difficult global economic conditions. The John Taolo Gaetsewe Development Trust, a broad-based Northern Cape NGO is also a significant shareholder.
Saki Macozoma, chairman of the Tshipi board of directors, said, “This is good news on a number of levels. Tshipi Borwa Mine will continue to produce ore for at least the next sixty years. That means employment for the people of South Africa, royalties for the country and profits flowing to shareholders for at least the next six decades.”
Mr. Macozoma said, “This is a major milestone for Tshipi and represents a significant achievement for South Africa. It proves that Black Economic Empowerment has come of age.”
In November 2013, Macozoma announced that Ntsimbintle would conduct a feasibility study into another new manganese mine in the Northern Cape. “That study is now underway and what we are seeing is very promising,” he said. “If all goes well, we could have another new manganese mine constructed over the next few years.”
Justin Pitt, a director of Ntsimbintle, acknowledged the help Ntsimbintle received from the Department of Mineral Resources. “The Department can be congratulated for being successful in facilitating the admittance of a new broad based BEE manganese mining company into what was once a privileged and non-inclusive sector of the economy.”
The majority of the Tshipi product was railed to the ports of Port Elizabeth, Ngqura and Saldanha via the Transnet National Rail Network, with the remaining ore being transported via road/rail combinations.