The calls for radical economic transformation in South Africa’s mining sector, particularly transformation that favours the country’s communities, are rising in their urgency, their frustration and their exasperation.
So it was with no small measure of pride that dignitaries, shareholders, business luminaries, and VIP guests including Inside Mining, gathered on 22 June 2017 at the Kalahari Country Club in Kathu, Northern Cape to celebrate the success of a truly transformed South African mining investment company.
Arguably, the biggest cause for celebration, particularly among Ntsimbintle’s grassroots level shareholders, was the company’s latest dividend payment of R300 million in April.
Saki Macozoma, Ntsimbintle Chairman says, ‘On a night such as this, we see how deep the transformation can truly run when we, as key players in the mining industry, honour our communities, particularly those surrounding the mine.’
Ntsimbintle is a manganese mining and exploration business that was born out of South Africa’s own transformation when in 2002, Government announced it wanted to broaden ownership of the country’s strategic resources – resources that were at the time almost completely controlled by established big business.
Macozoma says, ‘It was time to build a legacy, and we wanted to create one that would benefit all our children, their children, and even their children’s children.’
In 2003, nine black groups formed Ntsimbintle to create a broad based Black Economic Empowerment company to pursue manganese opportunities in South Africa. Today, after years of dedication, determination, and hard work, the Ntsimbintle family consists of 16 shareholders, many of whom are grassroots level shareholders from within the Northern Cape and have benefited directly from the company’s success.
The John Taolo Gaetsewe Developmental Trust, previously known as the Kgalagadi Rural Poverty Node Charitable Trust, is one such shareholder. This trust, made up of members directly from the Kgalagadi district, is a specialist unit with a key focus on issues pertaining to the youth, people living with disabilities, HIV/AIDS, poverty alleviation, and women and children.
The John Taolo Gaetsewe Developmental Trust is a 14.44% shareholder of Ntsimbintle, and its Chairperson Ms Cynthia Mogodi sits on Ntsimbintle’s board of directors.
To date, the John Taolo Gaetsewe Developmental Trust has received dividend payments amounting to R46.2 million from Ntsimbintle. This has greatly empowered the trust to carry out its mandate to champion sustainable socio-economic solutions for the poor and needy people of the Kgalagadi district.
Among John Taolo Gaetsewe Developmental Trust’s key socio-economic initiatives are a human resource development foundation, a bursary scheme, a multi-purpose centre, and a community radio station.
Macozoma says, ‘We are immensely proud that among our shareholders we have those like the John Taolo Gaetsewe Developmental Trust, who are so deeply dedicated to uplift the historically disadvantaged people of the Northern Cape.’
With a world class portfolio of manganese assets there is ample for Ntsimbintle to celebrate. Tshipi é Ntle Manganese Mining, a premium asset, is one such reason. Based in the Kalahari Manganese Field, Tshipi Borwa is estimated to be one of the five largest manganese exporters globally and the largest single manganese mine in South Africa. During the first four months of this year, Tshipi achieved monthly production volumes capable of supporting in excess of 3 million tonnes per year, exporting more than any other producer in South Africa. The Mine also does its share in socio-economic development and has partnered with the Department of Mineral Resources and the Joe Morolong District Municipality, to develop and implement a comprehensive Social and Labour Plan. Some of Tshipi’s projects include the teacher development programme, a bulk water supply project, an enterprise development project, learnership programmes and bursaries at various universities across South Africa.
Yet Macozoma says there is more to look forward to. Mokala Manganese, an entity in which Ntsimbintle owns 51%, is considering the development of a new manganese project with a total resource of approximately 80 million tonnes, 12 million tonnes of which is mineable by opencast means. A feasibility study has been completed on the project, with the Mining Right application submitted thereafter. The award of this mining right is imminent. A decision will be made by all shareholders post receipt of all permits on the development of the project.
Just recently, Ntsimbintle reached agreement with Lehating Mining and its major shareholder, Traxys Projects LP, to amalgamate the Lehating Mining Right and the future mining right in respect of the Wessels prospecting area into one mine. The soon to be Lehating/Khwara amalgamated mine is one of the few remaining high grade (49%) manganese deposits in the Kalahari Manganese Field with approximately 25 million tonnes of mineable manganese ore.
The years of dedication, determination, and hard work have paid off: the future for Ntsimbintle, its partners and shareholders, looks brighter than ever before.
‘It is an honour to be part of such an incredible journey of transformation,’ Macozoma concludes , ‘and to finally see the vast mineral wealth of our country being shared more equitably among the people than ever in our history.’