Latest Mining sector features from across Africa.

Latest Mining Corporate Stories

Baobab Resources

Baobab has high hopes for Tete Ben James, Managing Director of Baobab Resources, talks about the development of the Tete pig iron project in Mozambique, one of the most exciting development stories in southern Africa. Writer Ian Armitage Project manager Debbie Clark What has Ben James and everyone else at Baobab Resources so excited? The iron ore resource at its flagship Tete project in Mozambique. Just how big the project could ultimately become is anybody's guess and Baobab has a plan to get it out of the ground and to market. In all, 2013 has been a pretty monumental year. Baobab is currently working on a bankable feasibility for a 37- year, 1Mtpa pig iron operation at Tete. To help get the project off the ground, it has brought in Standard Chartered to look for potential partners, and a resource upgrade has seen it investigate scaling up the operation to 2Mtpa. "The Tete Project PFS results from March showed the compelling economics of a 1Mtpa pig iron production scenario. That was followed by a resource upgrade and then we thrashed out the 2Mtpa numbers," Ben James, Managing Director, Baobab Resources, explains. "The 2Mtpa results demonstrate the ability to significantly scale up production at Tete." That the project can be scaled up is a huge boost. "Well, it means we have at least two economically attractive options for incoming strategic investors," James says. "The 1Mtpa scenario modelled a 37-year mine life and the 2Mtpa modelled a 22-year mine life. In both of those cases we actually exploited

Namibia Diamond Trading Company

Beneficiation success: The pride of Namibia Africa Outlook profiles Namibian diamond beneficiation company NDTC and talks to Head of Sales and Marketing Brent Eiseb. Writer Ian Armitage Project manager Debbie Clark While most State-owned enterprises can only dream of profitability, the Namibia Diamond Trading Company (NDTC) has contributed more than N$450 million in dividends alone to the national coffers in the past five years. The diamond beneficiation company is a partnership between renowned world diamond producers De Beers and the Namibian Government and the medium to long term future of the industry is "positive" despite the challenges of the past year. "All in all, the 2012 calendar year was a cautionary, volatile and challenging year for the industry and NDTC mainly due to uncertainty caused by exchange rate volatility, the problems in the eurozone, slowing demand in China and India, and a general lack of liquidity in international markets. There was also a reduced demand for new rough from NDTC Sightholders because of the amount of midstream rough and polished stocks in the pipeline. Despite this we have performed well against the beneficiation objectives and returned significant shareholder value. Considering the long-term fundamentals, we remain positive about the Namibian diamond industry," says NDTC Head of Sales and Marketing Brent Eiseb. The firm has achieved several noteworthy milestones including the fact that all of its 95 staff are now Namibian, and the signing and commencement of three-year supply agreements with 12 Namibian cutting and polishing factories in early 2012. NDTC's primary objective is to facilitate the creation


Driving operational excellence Africa Outlook profiles South African phosphates firm Foskor, one of the world's largest producers of phosphate and phosphoric acid. Writer Ian Armitage Project manager Debbie Clark Phosphates firm Foskor needs little introduction. The South African phosphate mining and processing group, whose majority shareholder is the Industrial Development Corporation, famously gave its name to foskorite and it is the only vertically integrated phosphate producer in the country. The Midrand-headquartered company also participates in the beneficiation of phosphate rock into phosphoric acid and phosphate based granular fertilisers, which are sold around the world. It was set up by the IDC in a bid to make South Africa independent from phosphate imports and operates from two main locations, the Mining Division in Phalaborwa in the Northern Province (Limpopo), and the Acid Division in Richards Bay, KwaZulu-Natal. "Foskor is a proudly South African producer of phosphates and phosphoric acid with international exposure," the company's website says. "Foskor unlocks shareholder value through the profitable, responsible and sustainable beneficiation of phosphate rock into either phosphoric acid or phosphate based granular fertilisers sold globally. "Foskor is the only vertically integrated phosphate producer in South Africa," it adds. "From phosphate-bearing ores, the operations in Phalaborwa mine and process phosphate rock concentrate, which is crucial for stimulating and raising crop yields. The Richards Bay plant manufactures sulphuric acid, phosphoric acid and phosphate based granular fertilisers (MAP and DAP) by using phosphate rock as a raw material. About 84 percent of Phalaborwa's phosphate rock concentrate is railed to Richards Bay and the rest

Kudumane Manganese Resources

A new breed of black mine Africa Outlook takes a look at the opening up of South Africa's Kalahari manganese fields and Kudumane Manganese Resources' R1.5 billion manganese mine. Writer Ian Armitage Project manager Debbie Clark Manganese is a strategic resource for South Africa and the Northern Cape holds approximately 80 percent of the world's commercial manganese ore reserves. It is used in, amongst other things, the manufacture of stainless steel – indeed, it is an essential component. According to the experts, South Africa's Kalahari manganese fields are capable of giving manganese ore to the world for next 100 years or so, and this puts the Kudumane Manganese mine in an advantageous position. The mine was commissioned at the end of 2012 and has produced about 80,000-106,000 tonnes of saleable product to-date. It is located about five kilometres from Hotazel and about 60 kilometres from Kuruman. Kudumane is a Japanese-backed joint venture between empowerment firms Dirleton Minerals and Energy and the Northern Cape Manganese Company. Each of the empowerment partners owns equal shares in each other and Hong Kong-based Asian Minerals Limited (AML), which has expertise in marketing and sales of manganese ore, owns a 49 percent stake in each of the two companies. It is a project we are excited about. So too is Sechaba Letaba, CEO of Kudumane Manganese Resources (KMR). "Manganese has regularly been described as one of South Africa's saddest mining stories because the country is home to the largest known manganese deposits in the world but infrastructural constraints have meant we

Exxaro Resources

More than black gold Exxaro is one of South Africa's largest diversified resources groups with interests in coal, mineral sands, ferrous and energy markets: Africa Outlook talks to Ernst Venter, Executive Head - Growth, Technology & Services, who says optimisation measures are paying off and that we should expect a bright future for the firm. Writer Ian Armitage Project manager Debbie Clark PwC's latest report on mining trends – the 10th review of global trends in the mining industry by the multinational professional services firm – has revealed that the industry has entered a period where there is a "crisis in confidence" about cost controls, delivery and resource nationalisation. In a survey of the world's top 40 mining companies, PwC said the net profits fell 49 percent last year, while market capitalisation had been severely battered in the first four months of this year. "2013 will be all about asset rationalisation and deal activity will be driven mainly by senior miners looking to divest non-core assets and looking to de-risk projects through joint ventures," Tim Goldsmith, PwC's global mining leader, said, adding, "Given how far the mining industry has fallen in the first four months of this year, it will be challenging for the industry to fully rebound in the remainder of 2013." PwC also warned that companies with financial constraints have been "forced to get creative" when it comes to raising money to fund acquisitions or advance projects. "We're very aware of what we need to do as a business to remain sustainable into the

Lucara Diamond Corporation

Diamond in the rough Lucara's Karowe diamond mine keeps giving. Writer Ian Armitage Project manager Debbie Clark Southern Africa-focused gem producer Lucara Diamond Corp has enjoyed a spectacularly good start to 2013 - its first special tender of large and exceptional diamonds, which consisted of 15 single stone lots, sold for revenues totalling $24 million, and confirmed the quality of diamonds mined from its flagship Karowe mine, in Botswana. It's done so well it has revised its outlook for 2013. "We are ecstatic with the results of the special tender and it confirms the quality of diamonds currently being produced from Karowe," president and CEO William Lamb said at the time. The highest value stone was a 239 carat diamond, which sold for $5.75 million, while four other diamonds sold for more than $2.5 million each. "We're pleased," says Lamb, who recently spoke with Africa Outlook and carries around a replica of the huge diamond, "with the results of the special tender which was in addition to our regular tenders which have also gone well. "When the mine phoned us to tell us that they had recovered at 239 carat diamond, we quickly started to put together a press release, only to be called a couple of days later with the news that the mine recovered two more large stones weighing 123 carats and 70 carats. Over the next six weeks, Karowe had produced 85 diamonds larger than 10.8 carats. "Now, as we develop the resource further we are finding that there are 'unknowns' in the


Profits, not gold Africa Outlook talks to Goldplat plc CEO Russell Lamming, the man refocusing the AIM-listed firm. Writer Susan Miller Project manager Debbie Clark Goldplat plc is focusing on profits, not gold as it consolidates its successful South African gold recovery operation, refocuses its Ghanaian gold recovery operation and prepares the way for new operations in Burkina Faso and growing East African powerhouse Tanzania. While the AIM-listed firm had been involved in exploration and mining – including looking for small mines that would feed their recovery plants – the size of the projects, operational constraints and the current uncertain gold price environment simply did not add up when CEO Russell Lamming, appointed in September 2012, undertook a strategic review. A geologist with a business background, Lamming first became involved in AIM junior resource companies at African Platinum Plc, which was successfully sold to Impala Platinum in 2007 once the Leeuwkop platinum project had been proven up. His first CEO role was at Chromex Mining Plc where they took the Stellite chrome mine from exploration through to production. Chromex was sold at the end of 2010 to an integrated ferrochrome producer. For him, in the current economic climate, it made sense to concentrate on Goldplat's core gold recovery business – recovering gold from waste products of the gold mining process - which he feels had been seen as "the ugly duckling of the group". "Historically the profitable sections of Goldplat provided cash flow for the more 'in vogue' part of the business, which had been exploration

DTC Botswana

A cut above the rest In 2011 De Beers and the Botswana government signed a ten-year agreement to move the London DTC to Botswana. Writer Ian Armitage Project manager Debbie Clark Botswana has experienced a serious resurgence of mining activity, with more discoveries seemingly every month. Speaking with me in 2012, Charles Siwawa, CEO of the Botswana Chamber of Mines, said the minerals sector of the country was flourishing and that "exploration for a wide variety of minerals is active and several new minerals projects were launched during last year." Botswana, he said, is a country "getting back to its feet" following the disastrous effects of the 2008 global economic meltdown. "The downturn in the global economy commencing 2008 has had serious repercussions on the mining sector in Botswana," Siwawa explained. "The industry went into a lull with some companies closing down whilst others retrenched staff all in an effort to reduce costs and weather the storm. I think since 2010 however the economic landscape has been changing, picking up, to the extent that in July 2011 we had the highest world record sales of diamonds from Botswana. That has tailed off slightly in terms of production and we are not yet back to the pre-2008 crisis levels but we are certainly producing diamonds and the economy is picking up." Diamonds are of course a girl's best friend; they're Botswana's too. And in August last year, De Beers began rough stone sorting in the country, a first step in its transfer from London to Gaborone. Rough

Billionaire Patrice Motsepe Pledges To Donate Half His Fortune

South African billionaire Patrice Motsepe, the founder and executive chairman of African Rainbow Minerals, has pledged to donate half of his fortune.

Swakop Uranium

World's third largest uranium deposit Swakop Uranium has started developing the $2.5 billion Husab mine near Swakopmund, the third-largest known primary uranium deposit on the planet. Writer Ian Armitage Project manager Debbie Clark Emerging Namibia based miner Swakop Uranium's Husab mine has the potential to transform the nation. It will create thousands of jobs, increase export earnings and taxes and will elevate Namibia past Niger, Australia and Canada to the second rung on the world ladder of uranium producers. The project is ambitious and daring. It'll see the creation of the world's third-largest uranium mine, with first production in the third quarter of 2015. It will reach 15 million pounds per annum of nameplate production by 2017. "The project officially kicked off on 18 April but we actually broke ground in October last year," says Grant Marais, Swakop Uranium's Director of Communication and Stakeholder Involvement. "Several contracts have been awarded, bulk earthworks have commenced, construction on the temporary road to the Husab mine is well under way, Nampower has approved guaranteed power supply for the mine and the first water from the temporary pipeline was delivered from the reservoir near Rossing into a newly built pond on the Husab mine." The project's 8km uranium mineralisation has been confirmed as the highest-grade granite-hosted uranium deposit in Namibia and one of the world's most significant discoveries in decades. "Swakop Uranium was established in 2006 to explore, evaluate, develop and produce uranium oxide as a source of fuel for low cost, environmentally-friendly, nuclear power," says Marais. "Husab will be