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MiningWeekly.com provides real time news reportage through originated written & video material. Now you can listen to the top three articles on Mining Weekly at the end of each day.

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    • 5.0 • 3 Ratings

MiningWeekly.com provides real time news reportage through originated written & video material. Now you can listen to the top three articles on Mining Weekly at the end of each day.

    Greenfield investment lagging badly, mining's contribution to economy halved

    Greenfield investment lagging badly, mining's contribution to economy halved

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    The growth of investment in fresh new greenfield mining projects is lagging badly and the contribution of the South African mining industry to the national economy has more than halved in the last two decades, Minerals Council South Africa's latest Facts and Figures 2022 point out.
    Net fixed capital formation figures show a mining industry bumping along a growthless greenfield path.
    Investment in the mining sector has largely been directed towards maintaining current operations. This is reflected in the 30%-higher gross fixed capital formation investment, which centres on brownfield growth in existing lease areas.
    In contrast, net fixed capital formation investment in mining averaging a low 4% from 1993 to 2022. (Also see attached graph.)
    A major upturn is required in net fixed investment is required because what has been mined has to constantly be replaced with a new find to prevent this finite-horizon industry from fading away.
    In stark contrast to other sectors of the South African economy, mining has consistently struggled to achieve and maintain positive growth.
    In fact, mining is the only sector of the South African economy that has averaged a negative 0.4% growth rate since 1994 in the face of all other sectors having grown, Facts and Figures 2022 highlights.
    Stay-in-business brownfield investment in existing lease areas can only go on for so long, making new greenfield investment essential if mining is to continue to be a meaningful economic multiplier.
    An indication of mining's magnitude of mining is provided the sector remaining a trillion-rand industry for the second consecutive year when measured in production value.
    While the contribution to South Africa's gross domestic product (GDP) was 1.9% higher at R483.3-billion, and direct payments into the fiscus totalled R99.1-billion, mining could have contributed 35% to 50% more to the fiscus in an environment of improved logistics performance and electricity security.
    It would thus made the necessary cash flow available for the government to invest in much-needed socio-economic infrastructure, such as education, health, roads and railways to drive economic development.
    Production in the year to December 2022 was 6.9% lower than in 2021. What is more, 2022 production performance was 6.7% lower when compared to pre-Covid levels.
    "Our industry is in decline, a trend which should be of concern to the nation," new Minerals Council CEO Mzila Mthenjane stated.
    "The value at stake for the nation is too large for the Minerals Council not to play a leading role in reversing this trend," Mthenjane added.
    Minerals Council is working closely with its business peers, government and other stakeholders to ensure sustainable and pragmatic solutions to the infrastructural and logistics constraints faced by the industry - while addressing the deteriorating security environment.
    "If these blockages are resolved, with the inclusion of the private sector, the mining industry's role as a key contributor to the wellbeing of the South African economy and livelihoods of people of South Africa will be fully unlocked. We believe and will continue to uphold our vision of #MiningMatters because it really does," Mthenjane emphasised in the release to Mining Weekly.
    Needed ultra-urgently is an efficiently working proven cadastre as well as an incentive framework to ensure the promotion of mining exploration.

    • 3 min
    Martin Creamer discusses: Jupiter Mines, Copper 360 and DRDGold

    Martin Creamer discusses: Jupiter Mines, Copper 360 and DRDGold

    Mining Weekly Editor Martin Creamer unpacks the news of Jupiter Mines producing a 99.9% pure sample of high purity manganese sulphate monohydrate; Copper 360 acquiring a new production-doubling copper processing plant next to its own processing facility; and DRDGold looking at the recovery of battery metals and platinum group metals.

    • 8 min
    Recovery of battery metals, PGMs being looked at by DRDGOLD

    Recovery of battery metals, PGMs being looked at by DRDGOLD

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    The recovery of battery metals and platinum group metals (PGMs) is being looked at by DRDGOLD, the Johannesburg- and New York-listed company, which is being globally acknowledged for its mastery of the recovery of gold from waste.
    In a presentation to the Swiss Mining Institute in Zurich, DRDGOLD CEO Niël Pretorius and DRDGOLD group financial manager Mpho Mashatola highlighted the growth strategy of South Africa's oldest continuously listed and still operational mining company.
    Pretorius and Mashatola outlined how DRDGOLD had transitioned from underground mining - where it began in 1895 - to mega-volume tailings retreatment.
    Gold recovered by DRDGOLD involves moving 25-million to 30-million tonnes of material a year at two distinct business units on the East Rand and West Rand of South Africa's historic Witwatersrand Gold Basin.
    In so doing, the negative environmental legacy of mining is reversed and a permanent solution for land scarred by gold extraction is provided.
    In fact, DRDGOLD is a business that fits hand-in-glove with today's circular economy times by generating wealth and through the knocking out of waste.
    Moreover, it is doing so from a shrinking carbon footprint through the introduction of green energy. It has a pipeline of 60 MW of solar power capacity.
    DRDGOLD's value proposition is that of a highly successful producer of green gold, which is also applying that know-how to be a green metals producer across a far wider front with the use of green energy.
    DRDGOLD's operating method centres on highly mechanised high-pressure hydro-mining of discarded mine waste, which is pumped as a slurry mix to reduction plants through a network of pipelines.
    Gold is recovered from the slurry through an extensively automated process and the discard tailings from that process are deposited on a facility of a design that follows contemporary management practice.
    Deployed is technology and information to enhance operational performance and minimise environmental impact.
    In addition to 16 years of uninterrupted dividend declaration for the benefit of shareholders, DRDGOLD also improves the quality of life of host communities through poverty alleviation and youth education.
    To date, DRDGOLD has had more than 11 200 direct participants in its broad-based agricultural livelihoods (BBL) programme since 2018, and this number continues to increase.
    The participants are from the communities in Ekurhuleni-Tsakane Ext 10, Tsakane Central, Kwa-Thema, Geluksdal, Langaville, Transnet, Daggafontein, Makunqa, Sallies and Reedville.
    These communities are transforming previous community dumping areas into productive spaces, thus creating health and economic benefits.
    Through its BBL My Food programme, 3 048 households are able to earn a minimum of R10 000 a year from tunnel production. Participants have prepared trenches for their winter crops as the programme continues unabated.
    BBL MyFuture changes the way people think about themselves and prospects for their lives. Many BBL participants kickstart diverse entrepreneurial activities in their communities. To date, 215 learning groups have been established, far exceeding DRDGOLD's commitment of 75. Mathematics, science and accounting programme activities involve eight schools and two teachers, with 662 pupils reached to date.
    In financial year 2022, DRDGOLD spent R55.2-million on socio-economic development, which includes expenditure of R6.4-million absorbed by the BBL programme.
    On the environmental front, major dust suppression has been achieved and 911 ha of land rehabilitated for redevelopment over ten years. Water management has resulted in a 61% reduction in potable water use over ten years and land rehabilitation for redevelopment.
    In the 12 months to the end of June this year, DRDGOLD had closing cash and cash equivalents close to R2.5-billion. On revenue of R5.5-billion, prof

    • 5 min
    Copper 360 takes major leap forward with acquisition of production-doubling plant

    Copper 360 takes major leap forward with acquisition of production-doubling plant

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    Northern Cape mining company Copper 360, which listed on the Alternative Exchange of the Johannesburg Stock Exchange this year, took yet another leap forward on Wednesday with the announcement that it had acquired a brand new production-doubling copper processing plant next to its own central processing facility, which is about to be commissioned.
    "The acquisition of Nama Copper as a paradigm shifter," was Copper 360 CEO Jan Nelson's comment to Mining Weekly on a Zoom interview. (Also watch attached Creamer Media video.)
    This is because Copper 360, which is focused on the processing of historical mined copper rock dumps, through a procedure of environmental clean-up, and the mining of surface and shallow copper resources, gets a brand new processing plant right next door its own plant.
    Located adjacent to Copper 360's operations in Nababeep, Nama Copper has historically processed copper slag through a sulphide flotation plant that is almost an exact replica of the modular flotation plant that Copper 360 is currently constructing.
    "By buying an operating plant, there are no longer construction and commissioning issues. The plant's already there, it runs, it immediately adds to the revenue, and it will ensure that we can pay our shareholders a bigger dividend," said Nelson.
    The plant being acquired has a capacity to treat 20 000 t of copper sulphide ore a month at recoveries of between 88% to 92%. While it has been treating slag, it can treat sulphide concentrate.
    "It's got a brand new mill. We know the plant quite well and its virtually the same as the one we're building. The thing that stands out is that we get a plant that is ready to produce from tomorrow," Nelson enthused.
    In having the capacity to double production, it is poised to double revenue as well. "The revenue we were planning to make in 2026 financial year, we're now going to make next year because of this plant," Nelson added. The revenue of R2.2-billion planned for financial year 2026 will now be able to be delivered in financial year 2025.
    Nama Copper's slag operations have become uneconomical and it has not been able to replace the slag with economically viable sulphide ore resources.
    Coming with the deal is a large land area, as well as almost 22-million tons of tailings with a copper content of between 0.3% and 0.6% copper.
    Copper 360 and Mazule Resources, the shareholder of Nama Copper, have entered into an agreement to acquire all the shares and claims in Nama Copper for of R200-million.
    An impressive part of the transaction is that Copper 360 has signed an offtake agreement with an associate company of the seller, which is an offtaker of copper.
    "We've signed an offtake agreement with them on very favourable economic terms," Nelson disclosed.
    The offtake will be from the plant being acquired. In addition, Copper 360 is also getting the benefit of a R50-million working capital facility.
    Mining Weekly: How do you intend to fund this acquisition?
    Nelson: We're finalising two major debt agreements that we'll guide the market on in due course. There won't be any dilution to shareholders in terms of funding this acquisition. It will be debt. We have no debt on the balance sheet and we're just finalising those agreements as we speak. They will provide the necessary capital to fund this acquisition. But what shareholders must also remember is that when the two plants are in full operational mode in February, the company will be generating between R70-million and R90-million of revenue a month, so there's also significant cash flow that will come to the party, but the debt arrangements we put in place will ensure we can fund this.
    Why do you see the acquisition of Nama Copper as a paradigm shifter for Copper 360?
    The reason we see it as a paradigm shifter is because the Nama Copper property is contiguous and adjacent to our central processing facility at Nababeep. With this acquisi

    • 11 min
    Manganese positioning South Africa for entry into huge new energy markets

    Manganese positioning South Africa for entry into huge new energy markets

    This audio is brought to you by Wearcheck, your condition monitoring specialist,.
    South African manganese mining company Jupiter Mines announced on Tuesday that it has produced a 99.9% pure sample of high purity manganese sulphate monohydrate (HPMSM) using the Northern Cape's manganese ore and bringing into service an internally developed hydrometallurgical production process.
    Inclusion of the battery grade manganese in the cathode of electric vehicle batteries introduces cost efficient energy density and potential safety enhancements, Jupiter stated in its media release to Mining Weekly.
    Jupiter's advance towards producing HPMSM follows that of Manganese Metal Co (MMC), chaired by South African mining stalwart Bernard Swanepoel.
    As reported by Engineering News & Mining Weekly in September, MMC is in the early phase of constructing a small-scale 5 000 t/y commercial HPMSM plant in Mbombela (Nelspruit), which is expected to be in production by 2026. This plant will be a brownfield addition to MMC's high purity electrolytic manganese metal (EMM) refinery.
    The wording of the Jupiter media release to Mining Weekly is that the Australia-listed company's advance is "the first published record of HPMSM being produced by a South African manganese miner using its own process". The manganese product is described as being of battery-grade quality in conformity with specifications provided by the International Manganese Institute.
    "We are very encouraged by the high purity testing results that we've achieved through the HPMSM production process that we developed, as well as the progress we are making on our business case development more generally. Our aim is to bring distinctive value to this downstream integration strategy and to derive attractive returns in exchange," said Jupiter MD Brad Rogers.
    Next year, MMC will complete half a century of being a producer of the world's purest 99.9% manganese EMM metal from ore that is mined in the Kalahari by Johannesburg-, Sydney- and London-listed diversified mining company South32.
    For some time, customers have been buying MMC's high purity manganese metal to dissolve it into HPMSM, and this has prompted MMC to enter the HPMSM production space itself.
    Once the 5 000 t/y plant is built, accredited and goes into the batteries of the world, then the sky will be the limit for MMC, which will be able to step out and put South Africa on the battery grade manganese map.
    MMC's forward movement into HPMSM is taking place amid key battery electric vehicle (BEV) manufacturers pursuing this more affordable and greener cathode active material with higher manganese content as the material of choice.
    Jupiter is performing location studies to determine the ideal location of its first plant. The base case for this work is that Jupiter's refining facility will be in US or Canada, with Europe an alternative.
    Ultimately, the decision will be informed by a variety of key criteria, including the location of likely offtake partners.
    Jupiter is also considering the merits of producing a manganese concentrate in South Africa, prior to transportation and refinement in North America or elsewhere.
    At this year's Fastmarkets European Battery Raw Materials event in Amsterdam, MMC market development executive Madelein Todd highlighted the commitment of MMC to produce sought-after HPMSM in Mbombela directly from manganese ore, in addition to being the producer of the world's highest 99.9% pure manganese metal going back to 1974.
    Meanwhile, Jupiter, based on its strategic analysis and discussions with market participants, expressed belief that there will be "a growing and long-term demand for HPMSM, which will be undersupplied for a period commencing in the late 2020s".
    Jupiter quoted the International Energy Agency as finding that the typical BEV will require more manganese than lithium and cobalt and Bloomberg New Energy Finance as expecting a supply deficit of 72% (relative to total demand) by 2030.
    On track to complete

    • 9 min
    Gold Fields takes big new Scope 3 decarbonisation step

    Gold Fields takes big new Scope 3 decarbonisation step

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    The global transition to net zero emissions by 2050 requires significant deployment of clean energy technologies and increased material production and infrastructure.
    This is top of mind within the Martin Preece-led Gold Fields, which has been exemplary when it comes to the commissioning of renewable energy.
    Now it has taken a big new step within the Scope 3 decarbonisation area where even angels fear to tread. This is because, unlike Scope 1 and 2 emissions, over which companies have considerable control, Scope 3 emissions are generated outside their direct influence, both upstream and downstream of the value chain.
    Gold Fields announced its new commitment on Monday, when it pledged to reduce Scope 3 carbon emissions by a net 10% from a 2022 baseline target.
    This is in addition to the Johannesburg- and New York-listed decarbonisation forward strider going all out to cut its Scope 1 and 2 emissions by a net 30% by 2030 from a 2016 baseline.
    The gold mining company has been quick off the mark commissioning 50 MW of solar power at its South Deep gold mine, west of Johannesburg, in Gauteng, where, in addition, it is now also looking to the commissioning of 60 MW to 80 MW of wind power.
    Now the decarbonisation grafter Gold Fields has been quick off the mark in arriving at its Scope 3 target. To arrive at its latest advance, 18 months were spent working with the key suppliers to its mines to arrive at total 2022 Scope 3 emissions being 980 000 t of carbon dioxide emissions (CO2e), which represents 36% of its total 2022 outpouring of 2 696 000 t CO2e.
    The 36% level is an increase from the 25% reported previously and is based on the greenhouse-gas protocol and a new methodology by the International Council of Mining & Metals, launched in September this year.
    The change now represents a summarised 74% Scope 3 baseline advance and overall 18% triple-scope decarbonisation intensification.
    Meeting the Scope 3 emissions reduction target will require collaborative engagement with, and, ultimately, the successful implementation of decarbonisation efforts by its suppliers.
    Gold mining companies generally have negligible downstream emissions as gold is largely refined before being sold for final use.
    The study found that the company's most significant upstream contributors to Scope 3 emissions were suppliers of fuels, mining services, cement and explosives.
    Gold Fields will now intensify its engagement with the majority of its suppliers to reassess its decarbonisation progress, status, and targets in 2025 amid also opting to be net zero carbon by 2050 in line with its signature to the Paris Agreement.
    Gold Fields Interim CEO Preece described as critical extension of the company's decarbonisation commitment to its supply chain.
    "We'll be working with our suppliers to ensure that we jointly address our climate change impacts and actively engage those suppliers who have not yet committed to emission reductions.
    "Other strategies include switching to greener products, moving to greener suppliers, and making emission reductions part of our procurement criteria," Preece stated in a release to Mining Weekly.
    The current 10% reduction target means that the company has to cut 100 000 t CO2e from its 2022 Scope 3 emission baseline of 980 000 t CO2e by 2030. As measured by emissions intensity, this will require a reduction from 346 000 g CO2e/oz in 2022 to 314 000 g CO2e/oz by 2030.
    In contrast, its Scope 1 and 2 reduction commitments are against a 2016 baseline, when the company launched its climate change strategy, and require a net reduction of 510 000 t CO2e by 2030.
    On a per-ounce basis, the reduction will be from 788 000 g CO2e/oz in 2016 to 423 000 g CO2e/oz.
    As Gold Fields is expecting higher production levels by 2030, absolute reduction cuts could be significantly higher.
    Owing to considerable renewable energy investment, which now accounts for 17% of its elect

    • 5 min

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