The board of Australian Stock Exchange-listed mineral sands company Mineral Commodities (MRC) paid a visit to the site of their new mine on South Africa's West Coast. The GDP benefit of the Tormin mine will be worth more than R1 billion a year to the Western Cape economy.
Directors Guy Walker, James Leahy, Joseph Caruso and Peter Torre, and Cape Town-based CEO Andrew Lashbrooke, led local government, members of the Department of Mineral Resources, stakeholders and the media on a tour of the Tormin site in the first week of February. The international board members were in Cape Town to attend the Mining Indaba.
Tormin, located on the West Coast about 400km north of Cape Town, has active beach deposits of the valuable heavy minerals zircon, rutile and ilmenite, used respectively in ceramics and in the production of paint, paper and plastic. Blue Bantry is the BEE partner in Tormin, holding a 50% share.
"The mine has an expected life of up to five years, although the company is confident that the offshore area, which is the source of the minerals and to which MRC has recently been awarded the prospecting rights, will replenish the beach and extend the mine life by at least a further five years," said Lashbrooke. "The building phase will create 40 local jobs and, thereafter, up to 100 people will be employed during the mine's existence."
A significant contribution to the local people and economy
The Matzikama local municipality's Mayor, Jakes Botha, said that the council had developed a good working relationship with MRC. "We see the project as making a significant contribution to the local people and economy, which are in great need of jobs and opportunities to develop skills."
In the Eastern Cape, MRC has renewed its prospecting rights over four of the blocks and reapplied for prospecting rights for the Kwanyana block of the Xolobeni project - regarded as one of the largest undeveloped mineral sands resources in the world containing more than nine million tonnes of ilmenite.
Last year, ANC secretary-general Gwede Mantashe called on mayors and councillors in the Wild Coast to unite behind the granting of licences for mining in the area to unlock the development potential and benefit poverty-stricken communities.
Employ 300 people for two years
"The Xolobeni project would see about R2 billion invested in local infrastructure, employ 300 people for two years to build the mine and 600 during its 25-year life cycle," Lashbrooke said. On a standard 5:1 ratio for job creation on projects of this nature, Xolobeni would create about 3000 direct and indirect jobs in one of the poorest parts of South Africa.
"In excess of R1 billion would also be realised by the local community, which is a 26% shareholder in the project, over this period from dividends and other investment commitments by MRC further to develop the region and its people."
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