South Africa

Council for Geoscience
Private Bag X112, Pretoria 0001
Phone: +27-12-841-1911
Fax: +27-12-841-1203/1221

Source: CIA Factbook


Legend and ore deposit name


Large parts of the country are underlain by Precambrian rocks incorporating the Kaapval Craton and  including the Barberton and Murchison belts, the Limpopo Mobile belt and the Witwatersrand Supergroup all of Archean age. A Paleoproterozic age has been assigned to the Transvaal Supergroup, the Bushveld Complex, the Vredefort Dome (meteorite impact) and the Waterberg (Mokolian) Supergroup. The Namaqualand metamorphic province is of Mesoproterozoic age. The Lower Paleozoic is characterised by sediments and granites that were folded into the Cape Fold belt. About two thirds of South Africa’s surface is covered by the Paleozoic to Mesozoic Karroo Supergroup, comprising mainly continental clastic sediments and volcanics. Several late Mesozoic alkaline complexes, carbonatites and kimberlites have intruded the Precambrian and Karroo strata. Cenozoic terrestrial and freshwater sediments, mainly sands of the Kalahari Group, cover large parts of north-western South Africa.


South Africa is one of the world's and Africa's most important mining countries in terms of the variety and quantity of minerals produced that include gold, chromium, antimony, coal, iron ore, manganese, nickel, phosphates, tin, uranium, diamonds, platinum, copper, vanadium, salt and natural gas. It has the world's largest resources of chrome (33%), gold (41%), vanadium (32%), manganese (80%) and PGM's (70%). In 2008 South Africa was the world’s leading producer of chromium (37.5%), ferrochrome (39.8%), platinum (76.5%), manganese (19.8%), vanadium (38.3%) and vermiculite (38.5%). Gold was once a keystone to the South African economy but the country’s position as the world's largest gold producer was usurped by China in 2007 after a steady decline in production over the past decade. In 2008 it accounted for 8.9 per cent of world production and 46 per cent of African production. For production of gem diamonds South Africa is ranked third largest in Africa (13.4%) the fifth largest in the world (6.5%). Diamond production decreased 15.4 per cent in 2008 in response to the drop in demand and world market price. South Africa is the second largest world producer, after Australia, of titanium (38.7%) and zirconium (32.6%) minerals.
South Africa is the leading producer for nearly all of Africa's metals and minerals production apart from diamonds (Botswana and the DRC), uranium (Niger), copper and cobalt (Zambia and the DRC) and phosphates (Morocco).
South Africa accounted for 98.7% of coal production in Africa in 2008. It has 96% of Africa’s total proven recoverable coal reserves and ranks sixth in the world. It is the world’s fourth largest coal exporter ranked along with Colombia. The country however has less than 0.1% of Africa’s oil and gas reserves and produces only one third of its crude oil and a half of its natural gas requirements respectively. Importantly it accounts for 15.6% of Africa’s refining capacity and produces syn-fuels from coal.
( Source: )

Maps and images

  • BHP's Hillside and Bayside aluminium smelters in SA and the Mozal smelter in Mozambique together produced 1.163 million metric tons of aluminium in the financial year ended June 2007.
  • Rio Tinto was planning a US$2.7bn aluminium smelter at Coega.



Antimony is hosted in the Early Archean Murchison greenstone belt, making Consolidated Murchison deposit, the oldest known antimony deposit in the world as all the other known deposits are hosted in younger rocks. Stibnite is the main ore mineral, and there is also significant gold mineralization. Zones of gold bearing stibnite are usually contained in quartz-carbonate schists, chert and fuchsite-rich quartz-muscovite schists. The ore can be massive, disseminated or within coarsely-crystalline quartz-carbonate veins. Some of the associated minerals are berthierite, pyrite, arsenopyrite, gersdorffite, ullmanite and visible gold. Approximately two-thirds of the known and exploited gold deposits at Consolidated Murchison were from quartz veins, while the remainder is associated with banded iron-formations.
  • Metorex Ltd operated the Consolidated Murchison mine which produces about 4% of world production. Reserves in 2006, proved and probable, were 1,285,446 tonnes grading 1,85% Sb and 2,25 g/t Au. In March 2011, Village Main Reef finalised the purchase of, 74% of Cons Murch. Together with antimony, the mine produces gold from its three operating shafts, Athens, Monarch and Beta. The mine has a 1.3 million ounce equivalent gold deposit.


The Bushveld Complex in South Africa has 80% of global reserves and produces approximately 50% of world chromite.

  • Xstrata (LSE:XTA), together with its pooling and sharing venture partner, Merafe Resources Limited, have a combined capacity in excess of 1,4 million tonnes of ferrochrome per annum derived from 18 furnaces at four metallurgical complexes. All of the group's chrome mines are shallow, underground mines. The gently dipping reefs of chromite are accessed by decline shafts. Mining is of a board and pillar nature and is currently conducted at depths ranging from 50 to 350 metres below surface. All development is on reef, thereby minimizing waste dilution. In addition to ore from its own mines, ore is purchased from nearby platinum producers, where chrome rich fines are discarded as a waste product.
  • Samancor is the second largest charge chrome producer in the world, producing, subject to market conditions, in excess of 1 Mt of charge chrome, approximately 70 Kt of MCFeCr, and some 40 Kt of LCFeCr per annum. In addition, Samancor Chrome sells more than 700 Kt of chrome ore per annum, approximately 500 Kt of which is sold on the export market. The mines are located on the eastern (Eastern Chrome Mines) and (Western Chrome Mines) limbs of the Bushveld Igneous Complex. Typical production levels amount to some 3 million t per annum of saleable chromium ores for both internal consumption (approximately 2,3 million metric tonnes per annum) and local and export sales (approximately 0,7 million t per annum). Eastern Chrome Mines is situated approximately 350km north-east of Johannesburg, close to the town of Steelpoort in the Mpumalanga Province, and consists of three underground mines, one opencast mine and one tailings re-treatment plant typically producing around 1,7 million t of saleable product per annum.Western Chrome Mines is situated approximately 130km north-west of Johannesburg, close to the town of Mooinooi in the North West Province, and consists of two underground mines, one opencast mine and two tailings re-treatment plants typically producing around 1.3 Mt of saleable product per annum. Samancor is one of the largest ferrochrome producers in the world, providing three grades of ferrochrome namely charge chrome, intermediate carbon ferrochrome and low-carbon ferrochrome. Samancor started importing chrome ore from India in 2007 because it could not produce the volumes of ferrochrome it wanted to produce locally.
  • International Ferro Metals Ltd is an integrated ferrochrome producer that listed on AIM (AIM code: IFL) in September 2005 and started production in January 2007, three months ahead of schedule. Head office is based in Sydney, Australia and the production facilities are located in the North West Province of South Africa. Reserves at Buffelsfontein and Skychrome are sufficient to produce 530,000 tons of ferrochrome per year for 40 years. An updated resource and reserve has indicated positive increases in tonnages and grades for ferrochrome producer International Ferro Metals’ (IFM’s) Sky Chrome and Lesedi mines in the Bushveld Complex, in the North West province, the company stated on 20 August v2013. The total resource had increased by 64% from 125-million tons to 206-million tons, with the average chrome oxide (Cr2O3) grade having increased from 34.49% to 37.57%. In addition, the total reserve had increased by about 6% to 92-million tons, with the average Cr2O3 grade having reduced marginally from 28.11% to 27.85%. The improvements in resource grade and tonnages largely reflected the remodelling of the resources at the Sky Chrome and Lesedi mines, as well as the conversion and addition of the inferred resources at Sky Chrome mine.
  • Chrometco Ltd explored the Rooderand chromite deposits north of Rustenburg and a deposit on the farm Naboom near Lebowakgomo. The company announced on 27 September , 2007, that it had sold its Rooderand chrome project to a private company, DCM Chrome, for R60m in cash. The farm Rooderand covers an area of 534.6ha and is underlain by three commercially viable chrome-bearing horizons, the LG6, the LG5 and the MG4 chromitite layers. South Africa's Bushveld chromite reserves constitute 75% of global reserves. Chrometco acquired the Rooderand mining rights in early 2004 and when it listed in August 2005 the intention was to undertake further exploration work on this farm, with the ultimate aim of proving-up chromite mineral tonnage. Chrometco drilled 2 core drill holes and 24 percussion drill holes, and in doing this identified the outcrop of the MG 4 seam over a strike length of 1,2 kilometres. Chrometco opened a bulk sample pit and undertook limited laboratory evaluation of the MG 4 chrome seam material. Previous mining took place on the adjacent property which is up-dip of Chrometco's Rooderand portion 2. Chrometco did not undertake a feasibility study on developing a chrome mine and no further geological work has taken place during the current financial year due to the offer to purchase. Chrometco was in the unique situation of holding a valid mining license on an undeveloped property with significant geological information available on its chromite resource at Rooderand.
  • London-listed Ruukki Group on 12 July 2013 said its Mecklenburg chrome mine, in Limpopo, had been fully commissioned. The Mecklenburg mining right is held by Ruukki’s 37.74%-owned subsidiary Chromex Mining Company and is valid until June 2018. During the second half of 2012, Chromex entered into a lease agreement with the Magadimana Ntweng Traditional Community, the owners of the Mecklenburg farm, which was followed shortly by the establishment of the opencast mine. Ruukki said it expected to maintain the mine’s current production capacity of 25 000 metric tons of chrome a month, all of which is sold into the market as a run-of-mine product. At the current production level, the company estimated the project’s opencast mining life to reach completion at the end of 2014, after which it would evaluate the possibility of continuing operations underground


South Africa’s coal mining industry earned the country R101.3-billion in 2013, with 51.1% comprising export revenue and 48.9% local sales, mostly to State-owned utility Eskom’s coal-fired power stations, which generate more than 90% of the country’s electricity. The coal mining sector’s 2014 revenue is forecast to slide to R99.5-billion or less as coal prices decline, languishing below $70/t in August 2014 – a four-year low.

Indian coal giant buys Limpopo rights - Sunday, January 08, 2012

South Africa produces a total of around 250 million tonnes a year of export and domestic coal.
  • Anglo Coal South Africa is South Africa's largest coal producer. Anglo Coal is committed to increasing its total coal production for domestic and export supply to 100 million tonnes a year from the current 60 million within 10 years, the company said in January, 2008.
  • Bank Colliery
    Bank Colliery formed by the merger of Coronation and Blesbok mines in 1981, now consists of Bank No. 2 Seam and Bank No. 5 Seam mines which produce pulverised coal injection and thermal coal for export and domestic customers. Located 25km north-east of Witbank and 30km south of Middelburg in the Province of Mpumalanga, Bank Colliery is one of Anglo Coal's South African export mines.
    Shareholding: 100%
    Goedehoop Colliery
    Goedehoop Colliery is located 35km south-west of Witbank in the Province of Mpumalanga. Goedehoop produces pulverised coal injection and thermal coal for export customers. A small quantity of low-grade coal is produced for the domestic market. Goedehoop Colliery is one of Anglo Coal's South African export mines.
    Shareholding: 100%
    Greenside Colliery
    Located 20km west of Witbank in the Province of Mpumalanga, Greenside now forms part of the South African Coal Estates (SACE) complex which includes Landau and Kleinkopje mines. Greenside produces pulverised coal injection and thermal coal for domestic and export markets. Greenside Colliery is one of Anglo Coal's South African export mines.
    Shareholding: 100%
    An opencast operation, the Isibonelo Colliery will produce 5 million tonnes of thermal coal per annum when it reaches full production during 2006.
    Shareholding: 100%
    Kleinkopje Colliery
    Located 10km south-west of Witbank in the Province of Mpumalanga, Kleinkopje Colliery produces pulverised coal injection and thermal coal for export. Washed, sized coal is also produced for the domestic market and metallurgical coal for consumption by the local steel industry. Kleinkopje Colliery is one of Anglo Coal's South African export mines.
    Shareholding: 100%
    Kriel Colliery
    Located near Bethal in the eastern part of the Province of Mpumalanga, Kriel Colliery was established to supply coal to Eskom's (South Africa's electric power utility) Kriel power station. It was originally intended to be solely underground, but an opencast section was opened to optimise reserves. Total production is supplied via conveyor belt to Kriel power station. Kriel Colliery is one of Anglo Coal's South African power generation mines.
    Shareholding: 100%
    Landau Colliery
    Located 15km north-west to 12km south-west of Witbank in the Province of Mpumalanga, Landau Colliery, an open-cast operation, produces pulverised coal injection and thermal coal for export and washed sized coal for the domestic market. Landau Colliery is one of Anglo Coal's South African export mines.
    Shareholding: 100%
    New Denmark Colliery
    Located between the towns of Bethal and Standerton in the Province of Mpumalanga, New Denmark Colliery was established in the early 1980s to supply coal to Eskom's (South Africa's electric power utility) Tutuka power station. New Denmark Colliery is one of Anglo Coal's South African power generation mines.
    Shareholding: 100%
    New Vaal Colliery
    Located in the Maccauvlei area immediately south of Vereeniging on the bank of the Vaal River in the Free State Province, New Vaal Colliery was established during the 1980s to mine the remaining coal in the Maccauvlei area to supply coal to Eskom's (South Africa's electric power utility) Lethabo power station.
    Shareholding: 100%
    Eyesizwe Coal
    Eyesizwe Coal is a black empowerment company in which Anglo American has an 11% shareholding.
    Shareholding: 11%
    In August 2004, Anglo Coal and Eyesizwe announced that they were entering into a 50:50 joint venture to mine the Arnot North coal reserves, known as Mafube Colliery.
    Shareholding: 50%
    Richards Bay Coal Terminal
    Situated in the port of Richards Bay, 160 km north of Durban, KwaZulu/Natal, RBCT, which is owned and operated by the major South African coal exporters, was officially opened in 1976. A dedicated rail link allows for the efficient transport to RBCT, which is a privately-owned and operated coal export terminal.
    Shareholding: 27%


The Palabora mine's open cast pit measures almost 2000 metres across, making it the largest man-made hole in Africa
Source: European Space Agency
  • Rio Tinto operated the Palabora mine (Rio Tinto 57%, Anglo American 17%) which produced 59,700 tonnes of copper in concentrate from its own operations during 2006. Its refinery produced 81,200 tonnes of copper cathode after buying in additional copper concentrates from third party suppliers. Palabora operated as an open-pit mine for some 30 years. It converted to an underground, block-caving operation from the end of the 1990’s and established full underground operations from October 2004. Palabora Mining, in which a consortium of Chinese and South African entities now owns a majority stake, on August 1, 2013 said that the new 74.5%-owners would make a mandatory offer to minority shareholders and that it had started a process to appoint a new CEO. MD Anthony Lennox stepped down on July 31, 2013 after Rio Tinto and Anglo American successfully sold their share in the JSE-listed company to a consortium comprising Hebei Iron & Steel and the Industrial Development Corporation (IDC). Craig Kinnell, Jean-Sebastien Jacques and his alternate Eric Yan, as well as Hendrick Faul also resigned as nonexecutive directors. The board on August 1 announced the appointment six new nonexecutive directors and named Palabora’s GM of human resources, Maboko Mahlaole, interim CEO, while the process to find a permanent replacement for Lennox is under way. Chengde Iron & Steel VP Jinghua Han, Tewoo enterprise management division director general Jie Yan, Hebei Iron & Steel International Trade Corporation GM Zejun Tian, General Nice Development company CFO Ng Tze For (Benjamin), IDC mining and manufacturing head Abel Malinga and former Palabora chairperson George Negota joined the board of directors. Meanwhile, Palabora said it was understood that minority shareholders were to be offered R110 a share, plus an additional R5.95 a share, being a noncompounding escalation amount of 5% a year calculated from July 1, 2012, to July 31, 2013. It stated that an announcement regarding the offer was expected on August 1, 2013. The IDC, which has a mandate to support South Africa’s beneficiation aspirations, owns a 20% stake in the consortium, with Hebei holding 35%, a privately owned Chinese trading company 25% and diversified group Tewoo 20%. Rio Tinto announced in September 2012 that it would sell its 57.7% stake in Palabora, as it was no longer seen as a natural fit in its portfolio. Anglo American sold its 16.8% stake.

    It was anounced on 11 May 2017 that Hesteel Group acquired Palabora Mining Company’s holding company through a merger between Hesteel International Holding Company, Hesteel Group, Xuanhua Construction Machinery and Smart Union Resources Hong Kong (SUHK). The target firm, SUHK, is an investment holding company based in Hong Kong that controls Palabora Mining Company (PMC), which, in turn, owns Palabora Copper.


Click HERE for an overview

South Africa has been a major contributor to world diamond production since 1869 when the first diamond rush occurred on the Vaal River alluvial deposits. Between 1872 and 1908, at the start of Namibian production, the country was producing more than 97% of the world’s diamonds. This domination continued, with South Africa annually producing more than half the world’s supply, until the early 1930s, when several factors combined to dramatically reduce the country’s share of production.
The Kimberley Mine closed in 1914, whilst production from other African countries grew rapidly with discoveries in the Congo, Guyana, Angola, Ghana and Tanzania from 1914 to 1925. The collapse of the New York stock exchange in October 1929 and the subsequent Great Depression had a severe effect on the mining industry in general, but particularly on the luxury diamond market. Major high-quality diamond finds in Sierra Leone in 1932 made it difficult for South African producers to compete as the world economy recovered. The 1939-1945 war also had a negative impact on the country’s production, as the world market contracted and labour became scarce. After the war, South Africa’s share of world diamond production grew steadily from less than 10% to more than 25% in 1981. This occurred despite major discoveries from 1957 to 1970 in Guinea, Ivory Coast, Liberia, Russia and Botswana. The opening of the Argyle mine in Australia in 1983 had a profound effect on world production, moving Australia from non-producer status to the number one spot with an annual production of over 35 million low quality carats, accounting for only 6% by value of world production.

The total quantity of diamond mined in the world up to 1995 is estimated at approximately 2.67 billion carats or about 534 tonnes. Of this total, South Africa has contributed 493 million carats, or 18% of all natural diamonds. Today, South Africa ranks fifth in world diamond production by volume, behind Australia, Botswana, Russia and Congo, annually producing approximately 10% of the world’s supply. By value, only Botswana and Russia exceed South Africa’s contribution. During 1995, diamond production in South Africa was 9.69 million carats, of which more than 93% was from the De Beers mines at Venetia, Finsch, Premier, Namaqualand, Kimberley and Koffiefontein. The balance is produced by small kimberlite, alluvial and shallow marine mines. This production is estimated to generate over US$ 650 million in revenue, as well as supporting a small cutting industry in South Africa.

  • Alexkor Ltd has been mining diamonds on land, along rivers, on beaches and in the sea along the north-west coast of South Africa.
    Alexkor was established in 1989, when the State alluvial Diggings was taken over from the Government and transformed into the Alexander Bay Development Corporation. Since November 1992 Alexkor Limited has been run as a public Company with the state as sole share-holder. Over the life of the mine approximately 10,000,000 cts of gemstone quality diamonds have been recovered.
    Alexkor has a lease to prospect for and mine diamonds in sea concession areas 1a, 1b, 1c, 2a, 3a, 4a, 4b and 9d as well as the adjacent surf zones. Approximately 100 different shallow water contractors are currently undertaking diver-based mining in the sub tidal concession areas.
  • "SA's Alexkor grinds to halt" (Source: Miningmx)
  • De Beers operates the Finsch, Kimberley (retreating dumps), Cullinan, Kleinzee, The Oaks and Venetia mines.
  • Finsch mine, established in 1961, produced 2,215,643 carats in 2005 at an average grade of 37,3 carats per 100 metric tonnes. The Finsch pipe is the most important kimberlite in a cluster that also includes the Peiserton pipe. Finsch was discovered in 1960 on the farm Brits in the Postmasburg District, by prospectors Finscham and Schwabel, 130 kilometres WNW of Kimberley. De Beers acquired a controlling interest in 1963, and in 1965 mining lease negotiations were concluded with the Department of Mines. The mine was acquired by De Beers in 1965 and changed from an open-pit to an underground operation in 1990. Up to 1995, an approximate total of 93 million carats had been produced at an average grade of 80 cpht. The average grade has varied considerably from year to year, due in large part to the presence of greater or lesser quantities of wall rock xenolith dilution. In 1995, a total of 1.72 million carats were produced at an average grade of 49.3 cpht. The pipe is a Group II kimberlite dated at 118 Ma, intrusive into the Ghaap Plateau Dolomite Formation and the Kuruman member of the Asbestos Hills Ironstone Formation. At surface the pipe measured 17.9ha, making it the second largest economically important kimberlite in South Africa after Premier. The pipe is located on a precursor dyke set striking at approximately 50o from north. The pipe is diatreme facies to the 680 metre level, and geological modelling suggests that the transition to the hypabyssal facies root zone does not occur above the 900 metre level. The geology is complex and some nine subsequent phases of intrusion have been recognised.. The presence of Karoo wall-rock xenoliths in the pipe proves that Karoo rocks existed on top of the Ghaap Plateau at the time of kimberlite emplacement, but have since been removed by erosion.
  • The Kimberley retreatment plant produced 1,896,893 carats in 2005 at an average grade of 19,6 carats per 100 tonnes.
  • Cullinan mine, established in 1902, produced 1,304,653 carats in 2005 at an average grade of 28,3 carats per 100 tonnes.
De Beers is projecting 14.7 million carats for 2007, with a reduction of 2 million carats in 2008 as a result of the lost volume from those operations that they are disposing of, David Noko, managing director of De Beers Consolidated Mines (DBCM) told Reuters in October, 2007.
He also said the company's Voorspoed mine, situated in the Free State province, would start production in 2008, and would produce 1 million carats when in full production.

De Beers sold off its loss-making Kimberley Underground mine in the Northern Cape province, which it closed in late 2005, to Petra Diamonds and has said it also intends to dispose of its Cullinan mine.

De Beers said on 22 November, 2007, it had sold its historic Cullinan mine to a consortium led by Petra Diamonds for 1 billion rand ($147.5 million) in cash.
De Beers, 45 percent owned by mining group Anglo American Plc, said in February it planned to dispose of the loss-making mine.
The consortium comprises of Petra and Saudi-based investment firm Al Rajhi Holdings, each buying 37 percent stakes, with black-owned Thembinkosi Mining Investments owning the remaining 26 percent.
Petra estimates the total resource at some 212-million carats and said that the C-Cut reserve made up 133-million carats of that, the existing mining operations on the upper levels adding another 60-million carats and the tailings dams a further 16-million carats to 18-milion carats.
Cullinan is estimated by Petra to have a remaining economic life of at least 20 years at a production rate of one million carats annually.
"Culling Cullinan" (Source: The Ecomomist)
  • Kleinzee mine, established in 1928, produced 1,014,132 carats at an average grade of 15,7 carats per 100 tonnes.
  • The Oaks mine, established in 1998, produced 85,766 carats at an average grade of 34,4 carats per 100 tonnes.  This mine comprises part of the Marnitz Kimberlite Provinc, discovered by De Beers in 1986. Three occurrences are known, situated on the farms The Oaks 153MR, Mooikloof 150MR and Dartmouth 27LR, in the Potgietersrus District approximately 350 kilometres due north of Johannesburg. The kimberlites are all of Group I type and are intrusive into quartzo-feldspathic and amphibolitic gneisses of the Limpopo Mobile Belt. The Oaks is a kimberlite pipe of approximately one hectare in size, has both hypabyssal and diatreme facies present and is currently the subject of a mine feasibility study. The Mooikloof kimberlite is a pipe of 2.5 hectares, but is exclusively hypabyssal facies with a very low diamond content and the Dartmouth body is a dyke.
  • Venetia mine, established in 1992, produced 8,515,045 carats at an average grade of 143,5 carats per 100 tonnes. De Beers’ Venetia mine opened in 1991 and is currently the largest producer of diamonds in South Africa. In 1995, 4.35 million carats were mined, or 45% of South African production. The mine is situated on the farm Venetia 103MS, 25 kilometres south of the intersection of the international borders of Botswana, Zimbabwe and South Africa, and 450 kilometres NNE of Johannesburg. The Venetia cluster comprises twelve Group I kimberlite bodies. The two largest pipes are currently being mined in a single open pit operation at an average grade of 136.4 cpht. The mine life is estimated at 20 years, although it is likely that other intrusions in the cluster might be mined in the future. The main pipe is an irregular elongate body that strikes east-west and has maximum dimensions of 640 x 260 metres, covering 12.7 hectares at surface. The pipe dips at an angle of 82o to the north and is intruded along the axis of a plunging anticline and follows the structure of the country rock. The country rock comprises gneiss, amphibolite and minor pegmatite of the cratonised Limpopo Mobile Belt. The pipe, dated at 500 Ma, consists largely of diatreme facies tuffisitic kimberlite breccia. Three relatively small hypabyssal facies intrusions occur close to the pipe margins. One of these pre-dates, and two post-date the main TKB intrusion. Numerous latestage hypabyssal facies kimberlite dykes also occur.
  • The Koffiefontein mine, established in 1870, and which produced 123 505 carats in 2005 at an average grade of 6,8 carats per 100 tonnes, was sold to Petra DiamondsThe Koffiefontein kimberlite pipe was discovered in 1870 shortly after the Jagersfontein pipe at the same time as the first discoveries at Kimberley. Due to the low grade, the Koffiefontein diggings received little attention and were exploited only on a small scale. The mine closed on several occasions due to economic factors and reopened most recently in 1987. To date, 7.3 million carats have been produced and the largest gem weighed 139 carats. The pipe is still mined by De Beers, and in 1995 produced 123,213 carats at an average grade of 6.9 cpht. It forms part of a cluster of Group I kimberlite pipes and dykes that intrude Dwyka shales and Karoo dolerites. Originally, it measured 10.3 hectares at surface and it is estimated that 1260 metres of the pipe have been eroded since emplacement at 90 Ma. The only other economically important pipe in this cluster is the Ebenhaezer pipe, adjacent to the Koffiefontein pipe, mined intermittently, but at an even lower grade.
  • De Beers is developing the Voorspoed mine in the northern Free State, which will produce about one million carats annually.  The Lace and Voorspoed kimberlites occur on the respective farms of Ruby 691 and Voorspoed 2480 some 110 kilometres south-west of Johannesburg. They are the only economically important intrusions in a linear cluster of Group II kimberlite pipes and dykes. Lace, a low grade pipe that measures 1.6 hectares at surface, was discovered in 1896 and intermittently mined up to 1931, producing a total of less than 730,000 carats. Voorspoed, a larger pipe of 13 ha, was discovered in 1906, and mined until 1911 with a total production of less than one million carats. Almost half of the pipe has a large floating reef of Stormberg basalt. Both intrude Ecca shales of the Karoo Supergroup and Lace has been dated at 146 Ma. They are dormant mines owned by De Beers.
  • Trans Hex  has been in the diamond mining industry for nearly 50 years. The company was originally incorporated in South Africa as Buffelsbank Diamante on 30 December 1963. It was subsequently appointed as a contractor to the then Small Business Development Corporation of South Africa to prospect for diamonds on the state-owned Komaggas farm in Namaqualand. The Komaggas Mine was officially opened in 1968 and, shortly thereafter, Buffelsbank Diamante entered into additional development agreements with the State to mine diamonds in Namaqualand. Then in 1972, with the newly acquired mining rights in mind, Buffelsbank Diamante acquired Baken Diamante (Proprietary) Limited from Allied Minerals Limited. In 1973, Buffelsbank Diamante was acquired by the newly established company, Trans Hex Beleggings. This acquisition was effectively the start of Trans Hex as an operating company. In the first decade of its existence Trans Hex grew rapidly by acquiring a number of mines which significantly increased its diamond mining assets. In 1980 the Rembrandt Group acquired 50% of Trans Hex Beleggings and Trans Hex Group was established as the holding company. These structural changes enabled Trans Hex to apply for a listing on the JSE, which was granted in 1981. In 1999 a dual listing on the Namibia Stock Exchange was obtained. In the 2000’s Trans Hex expanded into Africa by acquiring a stake in three diamond projects in the Lunda Norte province of Angola, approximately 1 000 km northeast of Luanda. In 2010, Remgro unbundled its stake in Trans Hex and all Remgro shareholders were offered a direct shareholding in Trans Hex. The company’s largest shareholders are now Regarding Capital Management Limited (27.5%) and Mvelaphanda Resources Limited (20.3%). Most recently, in May 2011, Trans Hex signed an agreement, together with investment partners, to acquire Namaqualand Mines from De Beers Consolidated Mines in a deal valued at R225m. The company has established mining operations in South Africa. Its flagship operation, Baken Mine, is situated on the banks of the lower Orange River about 60km from Alexander Bay. The Richtersveld Operations are situated further upriver and include the Bloeddrift, Reuning and Nxodap operations. In Angola, Trans Hex holds a 33% stake in Sociedade Mineira Luana (Somiluana), a fully operational alluvial mine where Trans Hex is also the appointed mining operator. The company also has minority interests in the Luarica and Fucauma projects, both of which are currently on care and maintenance programmes. As part of its local beneficiation strategy Trans Hex has established a joint venture company, Urembo Diamonds, in Johannesburg. This is a small-scale black economically empowered polishing factory, which is now fully operational, with significant potential to increase its production levels in the future.
  • Petra Diamonds operates four mines, Helam, Koffiefontein, Sedibeng and Star. Koffiefontein is an underground kimberlite pipe operation, with the rest being fissure operations.
    The fissure mines were acquired when Petra merged with Crown Diamonds NL in May 2005. Since then, significant attention has been given to the integration of Crown and its mining operations into the Petra group, thereby enabling the group to focus on further increasing production. The acquisition of Koffiefontein from De Beers was completed in July 2007.
    The mines produced 175,000 carats in the year to June 2006 and, with Koffiefontein, increasing production is expected for the year to June 2007 and beyond. Petra Diamonds announced a substantial increase in reserves and resources in South Africa on 8 Oct 2007: -An updated carat base of 9.33 million carats attributable (11.38 million carats gross), an increase of 101% on previous statement (May 2005: 4.64 million carats attributable) -In-situ value of US$1.5 billion attributable (US$1.9 billion gross) -JORC compliant attributable reserves increase 66% to 2.95 million carats (May 2005: 1.77m carats) -JORC compliant attributable resources increase 123% to 6.38 million carats (May 2005: 2.86m carats) -Increase due to the acquisition of Koffiefontein and additional kimberlite fissure units included in the total mineral resource. By February, 2008, Petra owned six diamond mines in South Africa from which it aimed to more than double its production to one million carats by 2009/10.
  • Firestone Diamonds plc's Bonte Koe project in South Africa (a joint project with De Beers) reached full production in 2007. The mine is expected to generate revenue of £3.5 million and £2 million in operating profit already in the 2007 financial year.
  • SouthernEra Diamonds Inc operated the Klipspringer Diamond Mine which is located 250 km north of Johannesburg and 35 km south of Polokwane, the provincial capital of the Limpopo Province. The mine was built and operated by SouthernEra in a Joint Venture with Naka Diamonds, a Black Empowerment Group. SouthernEra holds approximately 57% of the project.
    The mine was placed on care and maintenance in December, 2003 as a result of the strong South African Rand. The mining license in place with the promulgation of the Minerals and Petroleum Resources Development Act remains valid, thereby enabling easy resumption of mining activities.
    In July 2006, a trial mining and bulk sampling program was approved. The purpose of the six month program, which required no significant capital investment, was the following:
    * Review and improve the mining method
    * Assess the impact of increased diamond prices since the mine was placed under care and maintenance
    * Assess the ability to operate in a strong Rand environment
    * To be in a position to re-open the mine in an improving foreign exchange environment
    A total of 4007 carats were sold for an average price of US$ 100 per carat giving Klipspringer a revenue per ton of about $62. These results are very encouraging when compared to historical results achieved at the mine.
    In the Limpopo Province, exploration advanced both the Hope and Clifton projects which are located along the same structural lineament that controlled the emplacement of SouthernEra’s well known Klipspringer and Marsfontein diamond mine kimberlite cluster.
    The Clifton project consists of two Prospecting Permits measuring 1295 Ha and 3586 Ha which were awarded in May 2006. Reconnaissance stream sampling has thus far resulted in the discovery of probe confirmed high-interest kimberlitic indicator mineral anomalies which are being followed up.
    The 935 hectare Hope Project hosts a substantial 4 hectare kimberlitic indicator mineral anomaly. Two additional prospecting permits for 10,887 and 736 hectares within the Greater Hope Project Area were awarded in April 2006. Reconnaissance stream sampling commenced over these areas.
    SouthernEra has between 49% and 65% interest in properties within the Hope and Clifton projects. The properties are in joint venture with two Black Empowerment Consortia. 5% is held in trust for the relevant local community.
  • Diamond Core Resources Ltd is active in the Northern Cape Province and involved in two kimberlite exploration projects, the Paardeberg East Project, situated 40 km west of Kimberley, and the Skeyfontein JV, located some 20 km south east of the town of Postmasburg. Through its acquisition of Samadi (SA) Pty Ltd, Diamond Core has three alluvial projects, Uitdraai and Silverstreams, some 10 km north of Prieska, and the de Kalk Project some 30 km east of the town of Douglas. It has also acquired the Sanddrift project from SouthernEra and Minex located near its Silverstreams project on the Orange River in the Northern Cape. Diamond Core will pay between 1 million and 5 million rand for the prospecting right depending on when it is transferred into its name, as well as pay a fee to explore the asset until the right has been transferred. Canadian-listed BRC Diamond Corporation had agreed to acquire South Africa's Diamond Core Resources to create a group exploring for gems in South Africa and Congo, the firms said on 5 July, 2007. After the proposed deal, in which BRC will acquire Diamond Core in exchange for shares, BRC shareholders will own 53 percent of the company and Diamond Core shareholders the rest.
  • BRC DiamondCore eyes two targets
  • Nare Diamonds Ltd (NHY.BE, Australian-80%, and the Schmidtsdrift Communal Property Association-20%) owns the alluvial Schmidtsdrift mine, comprising six contiguous farms along the western bank of the Vaal River, with a combined area of 320 km2. The indicated total resource is 48 million tonnes with an estimated 247,310 carats. Prospecting and trial mining activities started in 2001 and Nare re-commenced trial mining in April 2006, yielding 1584,02 carats by end June 2006, including a 235,03 carat diamond. Nare is also involved in the Kamfersdam tailings treatment plant, the Klipspringer Joint Venture with SouthernEra Diamonds Inc and the Groen River exploration project. Nare announced in August, 2007, that it was to change its name to Lonrho Mining ahead of a dual listing on London's Alternative Investment Market. Lonrho then had a 21.94% stake in Nare Diamonds.

The 235 carat diamond recovered at the Schmidtsdrift mine, April 2006

  • Afgem Ltd (JSE:AFG) currently has three dormant underground kimberlite fissure mines, two in the Northern Cape and one in the Free State that were acquired in June 2005. It paid Rex Mining R2,5m cash, R25m in shares and set up an agreement to pay four percent of revenue on rough diamond sales up to 2021. Simolotse Mine, previously Loxton Exploration, has indicated reserves of 155 000 tonnes @ 85cpht and inferred reserves of 238 000 tonnes @ 85cpht. The other two are Bokang Mine, previously known as Bellsbank Consolidated Diamond Mine, and Agisanang Mine, previously known as Rex Diamond Mine. Operations at Simolotse, which was the flagship operation, were suspended in March 2006. Flooding delayed the development of the critical number two shaft, hobbling cash flows and causing management to mothball the mine. Pumping and maintenance costs Afgem about R400,000 a month during the rainy season. Bokang, also an underground mine, is also not producing because of flooding. The third mine is the Agisanang mine between Welkom and Theunissen in the Free State province. It was shut in 1998. The mining licence has passed to another group, but Afgem is pursuing it retrieval.
    In March, 2007, Afgem requested trading in its JSE-listed shares be suspended because of financial difficulties, but was in talks with a potential buyer of two of its mines, failing which it could possibly restart mining after a re-capitalisation process.
  • Pangea Diamond Fields plc is exploring and bulk sampling in the two target areas of the Malmani project which were identified from drilling and the overburden is in the process of being stripped. Once underlying gravel horizons have been subsequently exposed, the gravels will be processed to test for diamonds and a resource will be estimated. The Patsema drilling program, which is testing gravity targets, is in progress with 101 holes having been drilled to date. The existence of significant gravel-filled pothole structures has been indicated and this program will be followed by bulk sampling. The company announced in May, 2007, that it had delineated at least 34 million tonnes of potential diamondiferous gravel from more that 800 boreholes that had been drilled to date at its Bakerville Project area and was testing a 21 million ton gravel deposit at its Malmani Project area. At its Patsema Project area it had investigated less than 10 percent of the licence area and five potholes with an aggregate of at least 1,5 million tons of pothole gravel had been delineated from exploratory drilling. [more]

  • Rockwell Ventures Inc (Canadian, RVINF.OB, RVI.V) acquired a 51% interest in H C van Wyk Diamonds through the purchase of Durnpike Investments (Pty) Ltd. completed early in 2007, and began receiving revenues from the operations in January 2007. The Company plans to increase its equity ownership in the Van Wyk operations from 51% to 74% in the first half of 2007, concomitant with an inward listing on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange. Van Wyk Diamonds is working the alluvial deposits at Holfontein-Klipdam, 45 km from Kimberley and at Wouterspan, near Prieska, respectively. The inferred resource at Holfontein-Klipdam is 12 million cubic metres at a grade of 1,16 carats per 100 cubic metres and the total inferred resource at Wouterspan is 46 million cubic metres of gravel. On March 6, 2007, Rockwell and Trans Hex Group Limited announced that the companies had entered into an agreement whereby a wholly owned South African subsidiary of Rockwell could acquire two open pit alluvial diamond mines and three alluvial diamond exploration projects from Trans Hex. The two open pit alluvial diamond mines, namely Saxendrift and Niewejaarskraal, and the three alluvial diamond exploration projects, namely Kwartelspan, Zwemkuil-Mooidraai and Remhoogte-Holsloot, are located along the southern bank of the Middle Orange River between Douglas and Prieska in South Africa and are collectively referred to as the "Middle Orange River Operations". Rockwell's Wouterspan alluvial diamond operation is located on the north bank of the Middle Orange River, immediately adjacent to the Saxendrift and Niewejaarskraal diamond mines. Rockwell also has rights to the diamondiferous gravel on the farm Galputs 104 in the Northern Cape Province. The company announced in May, 2007, that it had concluded the purchase of the Makoenskloof alluvial diamond project, located on the north bank of the middle Orange river, 40 km upstream of its Wouterspan diamond operation. Rockwell entered into an option with Kanonloop Delwerye early in 2007 to evaluate the alluvial diamond potential of the Makoenskloof project.
  • Tawana Resources NL (Australian, TWNAF.PK, also active in Botswana) is exploring alluvial gravels in palaeochannels in the vicinity of the Finsch diamond mine, drilling kimberlite targets in the same area and exploring the known kimberlites at Perdevlei and Kareevlei West. The indicated grade at Perdevlei is 15-20 cpht. Transhex holds an option to acquire 35% of the project, exercisable 6 months after a decision to mine has been made, for the payment of 3,5 times the costs incurred by Tawana in establishing the viability of, and bringing into production, a diamond deposit. Kareevlei Wes project comprises a cluster of 5 kimberlite pipes, which vary in surface area from a large 5,8 ha to 0,3 ha. Drilling to a depth of 100m showed that the tonnage of KV3 is 13 million t and that of KV2 is 2 million t. Previous work showed that three of the kimberlites, KV1, KV2 and KV3 are diamondiferous. Bauer drill bulk sampling of KV1 and KV2 showed that these two kimberlites have a similar estimated grade of 8,5carats per 100 tonne. Tawana announced in April 2007 that it had entered into a joint venture with Guma Resources, its strategic alliance partner, to explore and mine the Lexshell alluvial diamond project in the Northern Cape. The project, located on a palaeo-channel of the Vaal river, is held under a mining right by Lexshell 366 Mining. Tawana announced on 15 May 2007 that it had entered into a joint venture with Taormina Mining to prospect and evaluate a kimberlite situated 25 km north of Kimberley. The kimberlite was a four hectare pipe known locally as the Riverton mine and was reported to have produced good quality diamonds when it was mined by small scale diggers during the 1990s. Tawana was able to earn 51% equity in the project by conducting a 2 000 t bulk sampling programme, followed by an 8 000 t evaluation program if warranted. Thereafter, it had the option to increase its equity to 70% by paying Taormina R1,5-million. Tawana also acquired a 30% interest in the St Augustines kimberlite which is located some 600 m west of the famous Kimberley mine - the Big Hole. The Big Hole produced 14,5-million carats of diamonds from 22,5-million tons, at a grade of 64 carats per hundred tons. Mining at the Big Hole stopped in 1914. Tawana said in a statement that the St Augustines kimberlite was mined in the late 1890s and records showed that the diamond quality was considered identical, and the grade similar, to that of the nearby Kimberley mine. Records show that St Augustines was only partially mined to a depth of about 240 m, and mining stopped at the site in 1902. Tawana and Kimberley Consolidated Mining (KCM) announced in July, 2007, the establishment of a joint venture that will conduct explorations in the Carter area, which is located near De Beers' Finsch project in South Africa. Tawana will acquire 40% of the venture after conducting drilling at several targets. Subsequently, the partners will contribute proportionately to the exploration costs. KCM was established earlier this year following the merger between Channal Mining and Kimberley Consolidated Mining and Exploration. The company has been conducting diamond explorations in the Taung area of South Africa for the past 12 months. To date it has produced 2000 carats, which were sold at an average price of $1200 per carat. Kimberley Consolidated Mining announced on January 9, 2008 ,the identification of three kimberlite pipes at its Carters Block exploration project. The kimbertlites identified include the Shone kimberlite, as well as several kimberlite dykes that apparently link directly with the Finsch pipe.

  • Caledonia Mining Corporation holds a prospecting and option agreement over the Goedgevonden diamond bearing kimberlite pipe located approximately 20 kilometres north of the Stilfontein Gold Mine in the Klerksdorp district of the North West Province. To date there has been insufficient work on the Goedgevonden property to define a resource for the property.
  • Etruscan Resources Inc and Mountain Lake Resources Inc formed a new company Etruscan Diamonds Limited to hold their respective interests in their diamond assets in South Africa. Etruscan and Mountain Lake own 62% and 21% respectively of Etruscan Diamonds with the balance being held by various third parties. Over the last five years, Etruscan South Africa has been acquiring strategic properties in the Ventersdorp Alluvial Diamond District, located approximately 150 kilometers west of Johannesburg and holds the dominant land position in the Ventersdorp District with two mining permits and 16 prospecting permits with applications for 5 additional prospecting permits pending. The Hartbeestlaagte property covers approximately 4,000 hectares and is located approximately 35 kilometers due north of the town of Ventersdorp. Etruscan South Africa has completed three bulk samples on the Hartbeestlaagte property, processing over 78,000 cubic meters of Lower Gravel Package ('LPG') gravels and recovering approximately 2,500 carats at a global grade of 3,18 carats per hundred cubic meters with a bottom cut-off size of 1.6 millimeters. A limited amount of Upper Gravel Package was also processed (approximately 12,000 cubic meters) to recover 187,7 carats at an average grade of 1,53 carats per hundred cubic meters. The treatment of the bulk samples was by a process of scrubbing and screening followed by pan concentration and x-ray sorting. The in situ inferred diamond resources are estimated in the 43-101 report to be 16,2 million cubic meters of LGP gravels at an average grade of 3,18 carats per hundred cubic meters (approximately 500,000 carats) at an average sales value of USD$400 per carat. The 43-101 report confirms that, in addition to the inferred resource, a large area of exploration potential exists in both the lower gravel package and the upper gravel package including an indefinable volume of material that is located below the present drilling level in the sink holes. Drilling to date has been limited to a vertical depth of 117 meters in these areas. Etruscan Diamonds completed the acquisition of the 50% of Tirisano Diamond Mine it did not already own from Mvelaphanda Exploration in October, 2007.
    The Tirisano Diamond Mine is located adjacent to the Hartbeestlaagte property where Etruscan Diamonds is presently undertaking a pre-feasibility study. Etruscan announced in February, 2008, that Etruscan Diamonds (Pty) Ltd. had received a National Instrument 43-101 compliant independent resource update on its Blue Gum Diamond Project in South Africa which substantially increases the resource on the project. The independent resource update prepared by Dr. Tania Marshall of Explorations Unlimited estimates that the Blue Gum Diamond Project contains 20.5 million cubic meters of indicated diamond resource and 17 million cubic meters of inferred diamond resource. The Blue Gum Diamond Project consists of three adjacent diamond properties (Nooitgedacht, Hartbeestlaagte and Zwartrand) covering over 10,000 hectares located in the Ventersdorp Alluvial Diamond District with the Tirisano Diamond Mine being located on the Nooitgedacht property.

  • DiamondCorp plc is developing the Lace project, located 20 km from Kroonstad in the Free State Province. The project contains an estimated 14 million carats of diamonds in tailings and kimberlite. Additional kimberlites have been identified on the group's adjoining properties. The company has an option to acquire Sonop Diamond Mining (Pty) Limited for US$45 million cash and 7.5 million ordinary shares of 3 pence each in the capital of DiamondCorp plc. Sonop has large-scale alluvial diamond mining operations along the Vaal River and Middle Orange River in South Africa and produced over 93,000 carats of high-quality gem diamonds during the year ended 28 February 2007.
  • KimCor Diamonds plc is a mining company owning and operating a suite of diamond mining and exploration properties that include underground, alluvial and dump processing operations complemented by a diamond cutting and polishing business. KimCor was admitted to AIM in March 2006, and raised approximately £3.35 million for expenses for the construction and development of a diamond recovery plant to process tailings at its Bellsbank site. n September 2007, KimCor completed the reverse takeover of Dwyka Diamonds Holdings Limited, a subsidiary of Dwyka Resources Limited ("Dwyka") and acquired Dwyka's four producing mines and a number of advanced exploration projects.
    At the time of it's original listing, KimCor's projected diamond production from its Bellsbank operation was approximately 50,000 carats per annum. With the acquisition of Dwyka's producing assets and following a number of capital projects designed to increase production rates on all operations, total diamond production is scheduled to progressively increase to 200,000 carats per annum.
    The two underground mines, Blaauwbosch and Newlands generate a high percentage of stones in the 1 to 5 carat size range that provide an ideal product for the value added process of cutting and polishing provided by Anmic, a subsidiary in which KimCor, through its subsidiary Free State, holds a 50 per cent interest and an option to acquire the balance of equity. Bellsbank and SMI4 Superkolong, the two dump reprocessing operations are low cost bulk mining projects producing large quantities of lower value diamonds predominantly for export. Nooitgedacht, the one alluvial operation which also supplies sand and aggregate as a by-product from diamond mining, has a long history of producing large high-value diamonds including the Venter diamond, the largest recorded alluvial diamond recovered in South Africa at 511 carats.
  • Bonaparte Diamond Mines NL has Joint Venture agreements with a South African Company, Universal Exploration Technologies (Pty) Ltd, for the acquisition of two prospective kimberlite exploration projects located in the Free State Province of South Africa. Prospecting Permit (PP) applications for these project areas are pending approval. The agreements include an option for Bonaparte to acquire a 60 % interest in each of the Projects. Mofschaap:
    The Mofschaap Project covers an area of approximately 465 hectares and is located adjacent to the Lace Diamond Mine which reportedly had a historic production of some 700,000 carats. The Voorspoed Mine lies approximately 6km to the northeast of the project. The area is considered prospective for structurally controlled kimberlitic intrusions, given its location in respect to known kimberlite occurrences.
    Bronkhorstfontein: The Bronkhorstfontein Project covers an area of approximately 780 hectares and lies some 20 km south of Heilbron in the Free State. Although there are no known kimberlites in the immediate area, previous exploration over a small portion of the area is reported to have identified a magnetic anomaly from which follow-up sampling gave positive kimberlitic indicator minerals. Bonaparte Diamond Mines signed an agreement to acquire 100% of a South African company Savanna Diamonds (Pty) Ltd (“Savanna”) in December, 2007. Savanna holds a current Mining Permit over a 3,073 hectare property located 142km northeast from Kimberley and is well advanced in the construction and commissioning of a mining plant onsite. The diamond bearing gravel deposits on the Savanna property are located within an ancient (>180 million year old or Cretaceous age) river channel that lies in a dolomite country rock which is prone to formation of potholes. Mining in the areas was initially undertaken in the early 1900’s and then abandoned due to limestone overburden leaving the deposits undeveloped. A gravel deposit of 2.53 million tonnes in size and potential for expansion to 9.5 million tonnes size with an average grade of 6.9 cpht has been reported. A prospecting permit application for the 18,000 hectare Vaal River alluvial project ("Vaalbos Project") has been submitted following a strengthening of the working agreements with the local community partners, the Sydney on Vaal Land Restitution Trust. The Vaalbos Project is located in the alluvial diamond production areas adjacent to the Vaal River to the west of Kimberley in South Africa. Published reports note historical mining (early 1930's) on the property produced some 490,000 carats including several stones over 100 carats.
  • Diamcor Mining Inc's main operating asset is it’s So Ver Tailings Re-treatment facility located in the Kimberley region of South Africa which recovers an average of approximately 1500 carats of diamonds each month. Diamcor, through its wholly-owned South African subsidiary Blue Dust 25 (Pty) Ltd., has also received the necessary approvals to enable the company to acquire a 24 percent interest in the privately-held South African company, Nerikets Properties (Pty) Ltd. Diamcor has also secured an exclusive option to acquire the remaining 76 percent interest in Nerikets. Nerikets holds the Prospecting Rights Permit for diamond exploration at Hardcastle; which comprises over 3,606.44 hectares and is situated on the north bank of the Middle Orange River near the Kimberley region in South Africa.
  • Paramount Mining Corporation Ltd (Australian) had applied for a uranium-diamond project in South Africa's Free State province, the company said in January, 2008.
    It would do so through its 100% subsidiary, Paramount Mining South Africa Pty.
    Paramount said that the project area was positioned to capture the dispersion of alluvial diamonds shed from the Jagersfontein kimberlite mine, which produced more than 9,5 million carats for De Beers, as well as eight of the world's 24 biggest diamonds, including the 972 carat Excelsior diamond.
    There was also potential in the project area, which was situated 4 km from the mine area, for more kimberlite pipes belonging to the Jagerfontein cluster.
    The project was also of interest for uranium. In addition to the farm Vlakfontein, the project area had been extended to include adjacent farm Rietkuil, which lay to the northeast
  • Mwana Africa plc holds 65% of the Klipspringer Diamond Mine. The Klipspringer Diamond Mine in South Africa is located 250 km north of Johannesburg and 35 km south of Polokwane, the provincial capital of the Limpopo Province. The mine is a joint venture between Mwana and Naka Diamond Mining (Pty) Ltd (“Naka”), a Black Economic Empowerment company. The development of the Klipspringer Diamond Mine commenced in 2001 with the construction of a decline down to 7 level (160m) and was in full production by February 2003. Following successful trials through 2006 and 2007, the mine was re-engineered and the underhand open stoping mining method introduced, resulting in a reduced tonnage but an improvement in grade and a reduction in the cost structure. During the period April 2010 to March 2011 a total of 49,000 tons was mined. This yielded 22,700 carats, including a special stone of 31,25 carats valued at US$ 8,200 per carat. This is the largest stone recovered from the mine to date. Following a number of severe weather incidents in December 2010 and January 2011, which flooded the shaft bottom and lower (7) level, a decision to stop production and development at Klipspringer for reasons of health and safety, was taken. The mine is currently in a recovery phase aimed at re-instating infrastructure that was damaged as a result of the flooding. Management are reviewing restart scenarios and timing.

Gold in South Africa

Gold Home

YearProductionUnit of Measure% Change
2003373300Kilograms-6.33 %
2004337223Kilograms-9.66 %
2005294671Kilograms-12.62 %
2006272128Kilograms-7.65 %
2007252598Kilograms-7.18 %
2008212744Kilograms-15.78 %
2009197698Kilograms-7.07 %

Source: USGS

Click HERE for an image showing the locations and descriptions of  the Witwatersrand Gold Mines

South African gold output in 2006 fell to its lowest level in 84 years because of decline in grades mined, but there are strong signs that production will stabilise in 2007. Gold output of 275,119 kg in 2006 was 7,5% lower than the previous year. The last time South Africa recorded an increase in gold production was in 2002 when the rand gold price averaged R104,000/kg on the back of currency weakness. It rose 0,3%. The rate of annual decline in South African gold output has slowed. In 2005, gold output fell 13% year on year to 296,3 tonnes. South African gold output peaked in 1970 at 1,000 tonnes, but has been falling steadily as mines grow older, deeper and more expensive to operate. Australian gold output in 2005 was 263 tonnes and the US 262 tonnes. China produced 224 tonnes and Peru 208 tonnes. All the major producers have experienced declining gold production in the past five years. Australian gold output dropped 33 tonnes from 296 in 2000, while the US recorded output of 355 tonnes in that year, 93 tonnes more than last year’s production. China, however, added 52 tonnes over that period. South African gold production fell 98 tonnes.
  • AngloGold Ashanti (South Africa, NYSE:AU; JSE:ANG) mines in Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Ghana, Guinea, Mali, Namibia, South Africa, Tanzania and the USA. AngloGold Ashanti's gold production fell to 5,6 million oz in 2006 from 6,2 million oz in 2005. The seven underground mines in South Africa produced 2,554 million oz in 2006, five percent less than the previous year, at a total cash cost of $285/oz. AngloGold Ashanti had 181,6-million oz of gold resources globally at the end of December, 2006. About 83-million of AngloGold's gold resource oz are in South Africa. Anglo American said on I October, 2007, it would sell about half of its stake in gold miner AngloGold Ashanti as part of its strategy to focus on core commodities.
    Anglo holds a 41.8% stake in South Africa's AngloGold, the world's third-biggest gold producer. Anglo said it plans to sell 61 million ordinary shares, worth about R18.8bn, and that its remaining representatives on AngloGold's board would resign once its stake falls below 20%.
  • Gold Fields (South Africa, NYSE:GFI; JSE:GFIELDS) mines in South Africa, Ghana (Tarkwa and Damang), Australia and Venezuela with projects in Peru, the Dominican Republic, Kyrgyzstan, Burkina Faso and Congo (Kinshasa). The company produces about 4,1 million oz annually from its operations. Gold Fields issued 145 million shares to buy out Barrick in the South Deep mine project in South Africa and to raise $1.2 bn to fund the project and others. South Deep has 28 million oz of gold. Gold Fields estimated total resources of 252-million oz of gold in 2007.
  • Harmony Gold Mining (South Africa, NYSE:HMY; JSE:HAR) is the fifth largest gold producer in the world, with operations and projects in South Africa, Senegal, Australia and Papua New Guinea. The Hidden Valley Project in PGN comprises the Hidden Valley/Kaveroi and Hamata open pits, a 43 million tonne tailings facility and associated infrastructure, the mine will produce approximately 300,000 oz of gold and 4 million oz of silver over a 10-year life.The Golpu copper gold project in the Morobe Province of Papua New Guinea, resource stands at 163 million tonnes at 1,1% Cu, 0,6 g/t Au and 132 parts per million molybdenum containing 3,9 billion pounds of copper, 2,96 million oz of gold and 47 million pounds of molybdenum. Harmony has announced plans to dispose of less profitable mines and assets for sale include its South African Kalgold open pit mine and its Australian mines. Harmony aggregates its Free State operations into total resources of 94,5-million oz and the mines in its Freegold operation have total resources of 111,5-million oz, including surface stockpiles. Harmony's Target mine has total gold resources of 92-million oz.
  • DRD Gold (South Africa, Nasdaq:DROOY; JSE:DRD) mines in South Africa, Papua New Guinea and Fiji. The Australasian assets represent roughly two million oz of reserves out of the DRDGOLD’s attributable 8,9 million oz of reserves, and seven million oz of its 47,6 million oz resources. DRD Gold subsidiary Emperor Mines entered into an agreement in 2007 to sell its 20% stake in the Porgera gold mine in Papua New Guinea to its partner in the project, Barrick Gold, for $250m, erasing all its debt and leaving it cash positive. Following completion of the transaction, Emperor will have no debt and will have cash resources of approximately A$130 million.
  • Simmer & Jack Mines Ltd [JSE:SIM] acquired Buffelsfontein Gold Mines Limited (comprising Hartebeesfontein and Buffelsfontein mines) for R70-million in October 2005 after it had been placed into provisional liquidation by DRDGold in March that year. Underground operations began in earnest in December 2005 and the first positive cashflow from mining operations was generated in March 2006.
    Buffelsfontein has measured and indicated resources of 11.12 million ounces.
    Transvaal Gold Mining Estate Limited (TGME), a wholly-owned subsidiary of Simmer & Jack, situated in the Pilgrim's Rest/ Sabie goldfields approximately 450 kilometres North East of Johannesburg is the operational focus of the company's Mpumalanga operations. Another Simmers subsidiary, Sabie Mines Limited, houses various mining and prospecting rights in the area and is managed by the TGME team.
    The company has two operations in the Mpumalanga region through its wholly owned subsidiary, Transvaal Gold Mining Estate (TGME) - one is an underground mine and one is a surface operation.
    The drilling project, which started in August 2007, aims to locate a million resource oz by March 2009.
  • Great Basin Gold (JSE:GBG, TSX:GBG) could see a larger gold mine of 4.5 million oz at its Burnstone project in South Africa's South Rand Basin as it moves towards a narrow stoping mechanised mine that would deliver an additional 1 million oz. Grades mined from measured and indicated resources would improve from 4.5 g/t to 5.8 g/t. Burnstone will deliver 6,000 oz in 2008 from bulk sampling at the operation. In terms of current projections, the mine will reach its average annual production of 250,000 oz around 2012. The current mine plan for Burnstone is based on 3.5 million proven and probable oz out of 7.7m measured and indicated oz. Depth starts at 300 m and extends to 800 m at this stage, while Great Basin Gold does not anticipate mining any deeper than 1400m. The company has earmarked $6m annually for exploration the South Rand basin where Burnstone is located. Great Basin Gold had an 8 million resource at Burnstone at the moment and the company was confident it would reach 10 million over the next year as it continued exploration on area four of its Burnstone project.
  • Central Rand Gold (CRG), a new company that plans to extract gold from old workings around Johannesburg, plans to raise about R210m in SA ahead of listings in London and Johannesburg. Central Rand has assembled a portfolio of mining properties stretching south of Johannesburg from Western Areas in the west through to Simmer & Jack's operations in the east. CRG is looking at restarting operations immediately south of Johannesburg incorporating parts of the old mines, including Consolidated Main Reef, Langlaagte, Crown Mines, Village Main, Robinson Deep, City Deep and Simmer & Jack. Central Rand's current indicated resources are about 21,4-million oz of gold at an average grade of 8,9 g/ton and its inferred resources, which are less certain of being mined economically, are 12,4-million oz at 7,4 g/t.
  • "Central Rand Gold (CRG) barred journalists from its first annual general meeting" and more
  • Witwatersrand Consolidated Gold Resources (Wits Gold, JSE:WGR) have been granted rights in the Potchestroom, Klerksdorp and Southern Free State goldfields covering 91 039 ha. They contain an inferred resource of 159,7-million ounces of gold and 136,3-million pounds of uranium oxide. It has been granted an additional prospecting right by the Departmentof Minerals and Energy for gold, silver and uranium over subdivision 3 of the farm Doornrivier 330. The area covers 214 ha and is adjacent to the Beatrix Mine in the Free State province. Snowden Mining Industry Consultants has estimated that the Doornrivier prospecting right contains an inferred resource of 0,9-million ounces of gold and 1,6-million pounds of uranium oxide. The three prospecting rights granted to Wits Gold in the southern Free State cover 13 067 ha and contain 44,4-million ounces of gold and 136,3-million pounds of U3O8. The company is engaged in exploration drilling in five relatively shallow priority areas with an inferred resource of 42,9 million oz of gold. Wits Gold is busy defining the ore body at its Bloemhoek-de Bron property in Free State, which appears to host a world-class gold deposit, the company announced in October, 2007. The property, which is close to Gold Fields’ Beatrix and to Harmony Gold Mining’s Joel, St Helena and Bambanani mines, potentially contains 10 million to 15 million ounces of gold, grading about six grams per tonne, at a depth of 500 metres to 1.5 kilometres. This made it the 10th-largest undeveloped gold resource in the world. Wits Gold’s total gold resource of 160 million oz made it the sixth-largest gold company in the world, ranked by resources. As it has a market capitalisation of about $500 million, investors were paying about $3.30 for an oz of gold. Wits Gold reported a substantial increase in its indicated gold resource to almost 20-million oz , the company said in November, 2007. Following a review of its gold and uranium resources by Snowden Mining Industry Consultants, its total indicated gold resource increased to 19,4-million oz, compared with the previous estimate of 3,9-million oz. Wits Gold recorded an inferred gold resource of 130,4-million oz, compared with 155,8-million oz previously. The total inferred uranium resource was 54,3-million pounds, compared with Snowden's previous estimate of 136,3-million pounds.

  • Mintails Limited (ASX:MLI) is involved in the development, processing and production of gold and uranium and potentially sulphuric acid from "mining tailings" located on the West and East Rand areas of the Witwatersrand Basin, near Johannesburg. Mintails recently announced a new 50:50 Joint Venture with DRDGOLD in respect to substantial tailings resources located on the East Rand. The JV will own the rights to process over 1.7 billion tonnes of tailings materials on the East Rand. Mintails is involved in a further JV with DRDGOLD in respect of a new underground exploration company called West Wits Mining Limited formed to investigate and potentially exploit any economic underground mineralisation located at historic leases on the West Rand. Gold mining first commenced in the Witwatersrand Basin in 1886 and has since produced over 50,000 tonnes (1.7 billion ounces) of gold. This represents over 40% of the world's gold production. The massive multi-million tonne tailings deposits, which line the outskirts of Johannesburg, are the remnants of over a century of deep underground and open cast mining. Mintails currently has the rights to exploit in excess of 305 million tonnes of sands, slime and rock tailings material situated on the West Rand approximately 70kms west of Johannesburg, and now also owns 50% of a JV formed with DRDGOLD which has access to a further 1.7 billion tonnes located on the East Rand, 60 kms east of Johannesburg.


In the past, pegmatites were considered the only potential source of supply of lithium in South Africa. Spodumene, a member of the pyroxene–group containing 3.73% Li, was considered the only potentially exploitable lithium-bearing mineral in South Africa.

In the Northern Cape and Northern Province, spodumene occurs in zoned pegmatites. In southern Kwazulu-Natal and in the south-eastern part of the Vredefort dome, spodumene occurs in un-zoned pegmatites.

Northern Cape Province

The Namaqualand Metamorphic belt hosts various spodumene-bearing pegmatites, which is confined to the narrow east-west trending “pegmatite belt’ approximately 30km wide and 450km long.
Lithium minerals including spodumene, amblygonite, lepidolite, zinnwaldite, petalite and triphylite-lithiophilite, are found in complex beryl-bearing pegmatites, concentrated in the western parts of the belt, north of Steinkopf.
Individual bodies range from over 2km long and 70m wide to small veinlets, and consist of coarse-grained quartz and feldspar with muscovite, tourmaline and garnet. Spodumene has been extracted from pegmatites on the following properties:
  • Spodumene Kop 1 and 2
  • Kokerboomrand 1 and 2
  • Groenhoekies
  • Norrabees 1 and 2
  • Noumas
The Noumas Pegmatite was intermittently worked from 1925 to 1962 for:
bismuth minerals, beryl, tantalum-columbite, muscovite, feldspar and spodumene. The 1 km long by 10 to 42 metres wide pegmatite was emplaced disconcordantly into foliated granodiorite. Spodumene crystals up to 1 m in length are characteristic of the 1 to 8 m intermediate zone, and accounts for up to 50% of the mineral assemblage in places.

Smaller deposits are known from the eastern part of the belt near Kenhardt in the Straussheim 1 and 2, andAngelierspan 1 and 2 pegmatites.
Lithium-bearing pegmatites also occur in the Groendoorn River Gorge, but their small size, remoteness and inaccessibility render them uneconomic.

Production of spodumene from the largest known mineralized pegmatite in Namaqualand totalled 1000 t. Grades were calculated at approximately 5 t spodumene per 100 t of pegmatite. (1865 ppm Li)

Kwazulu-Natal Province

Spodumene in significant quantities has recently been identified in a number of leucocratic pegmatoid bodies on the farm The Corner 11328, south of Mzube River.
The mineralized rocks form part of a suite of sub-concordant predominantly aplitic sills, which intruded mafic gneiss of the Mucklebtraes Formation, Margate Terrane.
The entire package lies within a synformally folded klippen structure. The spodumene-bearing sills, which are the most consistently and well mineralized, are called the Highbury Pegmatites. The sills are up to 15m thick and were emplaced at several structural levels along the northern limb of the synform. The white coarse-grained rocks are composed of quartz, albite, microcline and spodumene with traces of white lithium mica, garnet, graphite and rarely beryl. Pale yellowish green to pink spodumene intergrown with quartz, forms irregular to ovoid poikilocrysts up to 40cm across. This texture is characteristic of spodumene that has replaced primary petalite.
Outcrops with more than 35% intergrown quartz have been recorded intermittently over a 1km strike length. The down-dip extent of the mineralized zone cannot be calculated with the present data and drilling is necessary to establish a reliable resource estimate.
The Li–pegmatites are considered to be late-stage differentiates of the characteristically anhydrous garnet leucogranites and charnockites of the Margate Suite, with which they share many geochemical and mineralogical similarities.
The lithium may have been leached form country rock metasediments during anatexis. A simple gravimetric test have shown that spodumene can be efficiently beneficiated to a product of ~7% Li2O with total iron content expressed as Fe2O3 of ~0.38%

Northern Province

Spodumene–bearing pegmatites in the Northern Province occur on Kalkfontein 615 LS near PietersburgWillie 787 LT south of Gravelotte and on the northern margin of theGyani (Sutherland ) Greenstone Belt at Palakop

 Free State Province

Li-bearing pegmatites are intrusive into Archean greenstone on the farms Benshoop 747 and the Avondale 600 in the southern part of the Vredefort Dome. The dykes range in width from 20cm to in excess of 10m and have been intruded by late aplitic veins, which impart a banded structure to the rock. Spodumene crystals up to 70cm in length are eutectically intergrown with quartz in places and range ifrom fresh specimens to highly altered psuedomorphs of eucryptite. Whole rock samples of pegmatite from Avondale 600 and Benshoop 747 returned values of 0.75 and 0.76 % Li2O respectively. Spodumene from Avondale pegmatite contained 6.74% Li2O and 0.60 % FeO.

Mpumalanga Province
Li-bearing pegmatitic veins have intruded tonalite-trondhjemite gneiss close to the northern margin of the potassic Mpuluzi granite batholith on the farms Oshoek 212 ITHoutbosch 189 IT, some 1 to 2 km west of the Swaziland border at Oshoek. Limted prospecting for lepidolite apparently took place during the late 1950’s and early 1960’s.


  1. Ansett, T.F., Krauss, H.U., Ober, J.A. and Schmidt, W.H., 1990: International Strategic Minerals Inventory Summary Report- Lithium: Circular, United States Geological Survey, 930-l.
  1. Baldwin, J.R., 1989: Replacement phenomena in tantalum minerals from rare- metal pegmatites in South Africa and Namibia, Mineralogical Magazine, 53, pp. 571- 581
  1. Bullen, W.D., 1998: Lithium in The Mineral Resources of South Africa (M.G.C. Wilson and C.R. Anhaeusser, eds): Handbook, Council for Geoscience, 16, pp. 441- 443.
  1. Diehl, M., 1992: Lithium, Beryllium and Cesium in The Mineral Resources of Namibia: First Edition, Geological Survey, 6.15
  1. Diehl, B.J.M. and Schneider, G.I.C., 1990: Geology and mineralisation of the Rubikon pegmatite, Namibia. Open file rep., geol. Surv. Namibia, pp.20.
  1.  Galaxy, 2009: Lithium Market Outlook and Offtake Update. ASX Announcement/Media Release.
  1. Garrett, D.E., 2004: Handbook of Lithium and Natural Calcium Chloride: Their Deposits, Processing, Uses and Properties, Elsevier Ltd, London, UK, pp.476
  1. Industrial Minerals, 2009a: SQM to cut Li to $2.3-2.4/lb..

10. Industrial Minerals, 2009b: Price cuts give lithium a rude awakening

11. Madison Avenue Research Group, 2009: Lithium Demand, Pricing, and Supply Forecast Considered as Li-ion in Automotive Use to Surge. .

12. Miller, R. McG., 1969: The geology of the Etiro pegmatite, Karibib District, S.W.A. Ann. Geol. Surv. S. Afr., 7, 131-137

13. Oosterhuis, W.R., 1998: Salt in The Mineral Resources of South Africa (M.G.C. Wilson and C.R. Anhaeusser, eds): Handbook, Council for Geoscience, 16, pp. 584- 586.

14. Roering, C. 1963: Pegmatite investigations in the Karibib District, South West Africa. Unpubl. Ph.D thesis, Univ. Witwatersrand, pp 130.

15. Schneider, G.I.C and Genis, G., 1992: Soda Ash in The Mineral Resources of Namibia: First Edition, Geological Survey, 6.23

Click HERE for an image showing the locations of the Manganese Mines and Projects

Regional Geology of the Kalahari Manganese Field

The Kalahari Manganese Field is a 400 km² basin containing some 80% of the world’s economic manganese ore resources and is estimated to contain approximately 13 billion tonnes of manganese resources at 20% to 48% Mn.The area is underlain by the Transuaal Supergroup. At the base is a thick sequence of platform carbonates of the Campbell Rand Subgroup which in turn is overlain by the Abestos Hills and Koegas Subgroup banded iron formations. These are overlain by the Manganese Formation, a glacially derived sequence of sediments and the lavas of the Ongeluk Formation.
Overlying the Ongeluk lavas is the 140 m thick Hotazel Formation, composed of mainly banded iron formations and manganese lutites. The Mooidraai Formation limestones and dolomites conformably overlie the Hotazel Formation. These rocks are overlain by the shales, quartzites and conglomerates of the Mapedi Formation.
The Permian Dwyka Group of the Karoo Supergroup unconformably overlies the Mapedi Formation, which in turn is overlain by the Tertiary Kalahari Group, which are mainly calcretes, sand and gravels.


Extensive prospecting work from the early 1920s, led to the discovery of manganese deposits and subsequent mining in the late 1920s on farms between Sishen and Postmasburg in the Northern Cape. Associated Manganese of South Africa, renamed Assmang Limited in 2001, was formed in 1935 to amalgamate various small operations and was listed on the JSE in 1936. Rail infrastructure was duly developed to transport the bulk ores, and the first ship was dispatched from Durban harbour in March 1936. Following the Company’s acquisition of the Black Rock deposit in 1940, a number of other large properties underlain by ore were subsequently found and acquired in the area.
  • BHP Billiton owns and operates the Wessels Manganese Mine. Although drilling at Wessels as early as 1951 exposed manganese ore, the true extent of the ore was only proved in 1966, when deeper drilling was undertaken. Wessels mine is an underground operation situated 300 metres below the surface. Access to the workings is achieved by means of a vertical shaft and two incline shafts. The nature of the ore body lends itself to a mechanised room and pillar mining method. The ore is broken by means of drill and blast methods. Mechanised electrically powered drill rigs drill horizontal holes into the face. These are then filled with either ammonium nitrate or a nitro glycerin explosive and blasted to minimise the generation of fines (-0.5mm). Front end loaders, matched with 25 ton dump trucks, load and haul the ore from the faces to satellite crushers underground. The ore is then conveyed to underground storage silos where it is temporarily stored before a cable belt conveyor transports it to the surface for washing and screening. Ore is screened into different size fractions in a wet screening plant on the surface. The different size fractions are sampled and stockpiled according to grade and size fraction. These stockpiles are loaded to the trains, either as a whole, or blended to meet customers’ requirements. BHP Billiton also owns and manages the Hotazel Manganese Mine but it is no longer producing. Hozatel Manganese Mines division of BHP Billition still owns and operates the  Mamatwan MineThe Mamatwan Manganese Mine lies at the southern extremity of the Kalahari manganese field. It was developed initially to provide ore with high manganese to iron ratio, for the local ferroalloy industry. The ore was introduced to the export market in 1964. Waste material (or overburden) is removed in a series of benches. The 20 metres of economic ore at Mamatwan is overlain by between 50 to 70 metres of overburden.The ore is hauled to a crusher situated close to the working faces where it is crushed and conveyed two kilometres to the beneficiation plant. Rock breaking of both waste and ore is achieved by drilling and blasting. Loading and hauling of both waste and ore is done by front end loaders and rear dump trucks. Waste is transported to mined out areas for back filling purposes. Mined manganese ore is loaded and hauled from the face to an in-pit primary crusher where it is crushed to 100mm. The crushed ore is conveyed along a two kilometre belt to the primary stockpile. Ore from the primary stockpile is conveyed to two paralled circuits comprising scalping screens, cone crushers, double-deck sizing screens and a horizontal dewatering screen. The different size fractions are stockpiled in marked, allocated areas. The product stockpiles are then reclaimed and blended to ensure a consistent product and conveyed to railway trucks. The natural Mamatwan ore lends itself to upgrading by beneficiation processes. The dense medium separation plant can be used to beneficiate the ore prior to sintering. During the sintering process the ore is calcined and partially reduced. The resultant product is both physically strong and chemically stable. Bucket wheels reclaim the sintered product, which ensures a blended, consistent product as well as minimising fines generation. The final product is transported to the rail loading facility. The Middleplaats Manganese Mine is a closed underground operation owned by BHP Billiton and Samancor Manganese. In 2008 RSVENCO was contracted to provide an assessment of the infrastructure and the associated capital cost required to reopen the Middelplaats manganese underground mine under various access and production profile scenarios. Some new access scenarios were: New vertical shaft and new incline shaft; New vertical shaft and refurbished decline shaft; and Refurbished decline shaft and refurbished vertical shaft.
  • Assmang owns and operates the Nchwaning Manganese Mine and it's rights include the entire Nchwaning Farm #267 and it also includes the former Black Rock Mine area. The Nchwaning deposit consists of a gently dipping and regular strata bound body of high-grade ore (+48%Mn), which has undergone a hydrothermal upgrading associated with faulting. The combined high metal content and low impurities make this an exceptional smelting ore. The mine was originally established in 1972, with the Nchwaning No.2 shaft coming into production in 1981. This shaft is still active and ore is mined, and then crushed underground prior to being hoisted up a 450m vertical shaft. This shaft has a capacity of +/- 120000tpm. A new shaft complex, Nchwaning No.3 was recently completed in order to provide access to high quality ore for decades to come. Production from this complex commenced in May 2004 and became fully operational in February 2006. This new mining operation is serviced by two shafts; a vertical personnel shaft to a depth of 350m and a decline shaft equipped with conveyors, which is the main hoisting shaft. Hoisting capacity is +/- 200000 tons per month. The existing plant has been upgraded and now treats the ore from both Nchwaning No.2 and No.3 mines. Ore is crushed, washed and screened to various sizes and then is stacked according to size and grade. These stacks have nominal capacities of 280 to 320 tons each and are numbered and sampled. This allows extremely accurate grade control for all shipments made from the mine. Manganese ore produced at Nchwaning and Gloria mines is transported by private rail to Hotazel where the trucks are transferred to the Hotazel-Port Elizabeth railway line. The railing takes approximately 30 hours for the +/- 1100km distance from the mines to the Port Elizabeth harbour. At the harbour the train is split up into 25 or 50 trucks and shunted into the ore terminal marshalling yard. Here various truck loads are split up per grade and shunted to the truck tippler where the ore is channelled to the storage bins or directly to the ship by means of conveyor belts.Port Elizabeth harbour The port facilities at the Port Elizabeth harbour consist of a two-line interconnecting conveyor belt system. From the tippler, the ore is carried either by one or both lines to the storage bins where it is deposited by means of one or two stacker-reclaimers, or directly to the vessel. There are four bins with a total capacity of 460 000 tons. When required for loading, the reclaimers are positioned alongside the required grades and extract the ore from the bins back onto the conveyor belts to the outloaders for shipping. The Gloria Manganese Mine commenced production in 1978. The strata-bound manganese body has a regular and gentle dip. The ore has a higher manganese-to-iron ratio than the Nchwaning ore and is an excellent metallurgical blending ore. The deposit at Gloria is well-suited to mechanised mining methods. The mine has a vertical and an inclined shaft. Ore is crushed underground and is conveyed over a distance of about 1 000 metres to surface by means of a conveyor belt system in the inclined shaft. The mine has a production capacity of one million tons of ore per annum. Ore at the Nchwaning and Gloria mines is crushed, washed and screened to various sizes. After passing through the plants the ore is stacked according to size and grade. The stacks have nominal capacities of 280 to 320 tons each and are numbered and sampled.
  • Kalagadi Manganese (Pty) Ltd, a company that is held by ArcelorMittal (50%), Kalahari Resources (40%) and the Industrial Development Corporation (10%) has been involved in the exploration for Manganese in the Kalahari Basin. The three farms on which the company holds new order mining rights are believed to overly some 960 million tons of manganese ore. The recent exploration programme has identified 102 million tons of Mineral Resources. Kalahari Resources is a majority black-owned company with women occupying leading positions. Its equity is held by nine companies and a number of business personalities and mining and marketing professionals. The development of the Kalagadi Manganese Mine project started with the injection by Daphne Mashile Nkosi, Executive Chairperson: Kalahari Resources, of R12 million into the project to complete the pre-feasibility study. Kalahari Resources was formed in 2001 as a result of new mining legislation, which gave historically disadvantaged individuals an opportunity to participate in the main stream economy. It has brought together women groups and entrepreneurs with broad-based participants and beneficiaries. In the process, a truly South African company, which is committed to transforming society and the future, was created. Kalahari Resources was established with the intention of gaining access to manganese resources in the Kalahari Manganese Basin. This was achieved in 2005 when the company was granted a license to prospect for manganese in the Kalahari Basin, specifically on the farms Gama, Olivepan and Umtu. After the completion of the manganese exploration work, the Industrial Development Corporation acquired 20% of the project for R60 million. Kalagadi Manganese (Pty) Ltd (80% Kalahari Resources, 20% IDC) was established in January 2006 as a vehicle to complete the Bankable Feasibility Study for the project. ArcelorMittal, the world's largest steel producer, has recently acquired a 50% interest in the project for $432.5 million, and will form an operating company with Kalagadi Manganese for the implementation of the project. ArcelorMittal will enter into an off take agreement with the new company to take at least 50% of the production of both sinter and alloy. Please visit the ArcelorMittal web site for more information on the ArcelorMittal company The sinking of the Shaft on the Umtu Farm commenced in March 2008. The mine will be accessed by two vertical shafts. The main shaft will be 9m in diameter and will intersect the ore body at 250m. This shaft will be used for men and machinery access as well as for inlet ventilation and the hoisting of ore. The secondary shaft of 6m diameter will be for return ventilation and will serve as an emergency outlet. The mine will be designed to produce 3 million tons of run of mine ore per annum. The mining method to be used will be room and pillar and will be completely mechanized using trackless machines. The stopes will be 8m in width by 6m in height and 6m by 6m pillars for the support of the roof will be left in situ. The ore drilled, then blasted and loaded and hauled to either one of two mobile crushing stations in which the ore will be reduced in size to 1 50mm. The sized ore will be conveyed by belt from the crushing stations the shaft silos, from where it will be hoisted to surface. Ore from the shaft will be directed to the run of mine stockpile from where it will be routed to the secondary and tertiary crushing and screening circuits. In the section of the plant the size of the ore will be reduced to minus 6mm, which is the size required for the sinter process. The need for the sinter plant stems from the fact that the carbonate ore from the Kalahari Manganese Feild tends to break up on heating as the carbon dioxide contained in the calcium and magnesium carbonates is driven from the ore. When ore of this type is fed to a conventional furnace there is invariably a build-up of fine material within the furnace chamber which then blocks the path of the escaping gas. The build-up of gas can result in explosions from time to time which can cause damage to equipment above the furnace - and in severe cases even loss of life. In the sintering process, by contrast, the calcination reaction occurs in the fine ore within the sinter bed and the gases are allowed to escape in a controlled manner. The fine ore is also agglomerated by the heat generated by the fuel in the sinter bed. The use of sinter in the furnace results in a far superior operation of these units. The sinter plant will have an output of 2.4 million tons per annum. The difference between this tonnage and the 3 million tons run of mine ore is essentially the C02 that is driven from the ore, which upgrades the solid content of the ore. The sinter plant will be a traveling grate type machine which will produce a sinter which is 46% manganese. Other essential units will be a raw material mixer, a hot spiked roll crusher, a product crushing and screening plant and a dust extraction plant capable of performing to ISO 14000 environmental standards. A coke milling facility will also be required. Mine infrastructure The main item of infrastructure will be the construction of a 132 kV power line from Eskom's Ferrum substation to the mine site over a distance of 75 km. The main item of infrastructure will be the construction of a 132 kV power line from Eskom's Ferrum substation to the mine site over a distance of 75 km. A railway spur will be built from the load out station at the plant to join the Transnet railway line to Port Elizabeth near to the Hotazel Station. The sinter will be railed to Coega in Block Load Trains consisting of 104 wagons and will be delivered either to the Smelter or to the Port. The smelter will consume approximately 700 000 tons of the sinter per annum, leaving 1.7 million tons per annum for export. The smelter will be constructed in Zone 6 of the Industrial Development Zone at Coega and will have a capacity of 320 000 tons of High Carbon Ferromanganese per annum. This plant will initially be equipped with three 63 MVA or four 48 MVA closed submerged arc electric furnaces which will have the capability of producing both high carbon ferromanganese and silico manganese. The facility will be designed to be expandable.
  •  Jupiter Mines Ltd's, Tshipi Manganese Project is located about 20 km southwest of the mining town of Hotazel in the Kalahari Manganese Field, which constitutes a globally significant manganese resource.  Jupiter Mines Limited in August 2010 acquired a 49.9% interest in Tshipi e´ Ntle Manganese (Proprietary) Mining Limited (“Tshipi”) from a group of co-Investors, of which a brief description of each follows:* Pallinghurst: A specialist mineral resources investment company listed on the Bermuda Stock Exchange (“SBX”) and the Johannesburg Securities Exchange (“JSE”) in South Africa.* AMCI: A leading private North American based resource company and a global investor in a wide range of mineral projects.* EMG: A North American based private equity fund that invests in entities that acquire, develop and own energy infrastructure and natural resource based assets.* POSCO: A Korean steel making conglomerate with interests across a wide range of industry sectors, listed on the Korean Exchange (“KRX”) and the New York Stock Exchange (“NYSE”).* Investec. A South African based investment bank with significant operations in the UK and in Australia. The remaining 50.1% shareholder of Tshipi is Ntsimbintle Mining (Proprietary) Limited (“Ntsimbintle”). Ntsimbintle is a Black Economic Empowerment (“BEE”) company which originally held the Mamatwan mining right and the Wessels prospecting right (the “Wessels Exploration Project”). Application has been made and approval is being sought from the South African Minister of Mineral Resources for the transfer of both properties from Ntsimbintle to Tshipi. The Kalahari Project is being established within the area covered by the Mamatwan mining right. The Wessels Exploration Project is approximately 20 km north of the Kalahari Project.The Kalahari Project is an advanced exploration project with a defined mineral resource estimate of 163 Mt at a grade of 37.9% Mn. Of the total resource, 62, Mt is classified as indicated resources, with the remainder classified as an inferred resource. The results of the Feasibility Study showed that the ore resources of the Kalahari Project were shallower than expected and low in phosphorus and other deleterious elements. Total run of mine ore tonnes to be produced are planned to be in the range of 2.2 Mt to 2.6 Mt of ore per annum. The Feasibility Study pit has been planned as a 24 year operation. However, the resources are expected to continue for a significant period thereafter. I

Anglo Platinum
produces around 30,000 tonnes of nickel per year as a by-product from its platinum mining operations and Impala Platinum 14,000 tonnes.

The Uitkomst complex (Nkomati nickel mine) comprises three disseminated sulphide mineralized zones, namely the Basal Mineralized Zone (BMZ), Main Mineralized Zone (MMZ) and the Chromititic Pyroxenite Mineralized Zone (PCMZ). At the base of the Uitkomst complex, another sulphide orebody, Massive Sulphide Body (MSB), occurs.
  • LionOre Mining International Ltd (Canadian, LIM.TO, LMGGF.PK) operates the Nkomati nickel mine situated in the Mpumalanga province in the northeast of South Africa, some 300 km east of Johannesburg. African Rainbow Minerals Limited (ARM) has a 50% interest. Nkomati Nickel comprises the producing Nkomati massive sulphide body (MSB) nickel mine, a lower-grade disseminated orebody and a chrome operation. The operating MSB mine is one of the lowest cash cost nickel mines in the world. The MSB currently produces 4,500 to 5,000 tonnes of nickel annually, with significant by-products including copper (2,800 tonnes), palladium (22,000 ounces) and platinum (7,000 ounces). ( In 2005, Nkomati produced 5,291 tonnes of nickel as well as 3,260 tonnes of copper and 97 tonnes of cobalt.) The operation is expected to continue at current production levels until early 2008. The interim expansion project will maintain production and bridge the gap between the depletion of the MSB (due in early 2008) and the proposed major expansion projects, planned to start construction in 2009 with full production forecast in 2012.The interim expansion project anticipates mining the disseminated Main Mineralized Zone (MMZ) orebody with commissioning planned for September 2007 and full production, at an annualized rate of 5,000 tonnes of payable nickel, expected by the end of 2007. The current project life is approximately 10 years unless incorporated into the Phase 2 Expansion. Nkomati's low grade disseminated orebody offers significant expansion potential. The expansion projects are targeting approximately 20,00 t per annum of nickel with a life of mine to beyond 2020. Expansion capital would be split equally between LionOre and ARM. A feasibility study is currently underway and is due for completion mid-2007. LionOre and ARM are also building a 20,000 to 25,000 tonnes/year smelting and refining facility for their Nkomati nickel development using Activox, a type of hydrometallurgy that is much cheaper than conventional smelting technology and able to treat low grade concentrate. MMC Norilsk Nickel , on 3 May 2007, offered to buy LionOre Mining International Ltd for about $5.3-billion, topping a competing bid from Xstrata plc. Norilsk offered $21.50 in cash per LionOre share, more than the $18.50-a-share bid Xstrata offered in March 2007. On May 23, 2007, increased an offer for LionOre Mining International Ltd. by 28 percent to C$6.8 billion ($6.3 billion), trumping an improved bid from Xstrata Plc. Norilsk bid C$27.50 a share, up from the C$21.50 it proposed. Norilsk Nickel announced plans in September, 2007, to invest $830 million in its African production assets over the next three years in order to double its nickel output on the continent. The Russian-based company also said that it will invest $445 million together with joint venture partner African Rainbow Minerals Limited (ARM) in the Nkomati nickel mine that the two companies operate together.
    This investment will increase average annual nickel production to 20,500 tonnes from 5,500 tonnes and extend the life of mine by 18 years to 2027, the company said.

Oil and Natural Gas

Proven reserves
Oil: 20mmbbls
Gas: 0.42Tcf

The national oil company is Petroleum, Oil and Gas Corporation of South Africa (PetroSA)
The key players are
Kinetiko Energy
Anglo American
BHP Billiton
Sunbird Energy
Cairn India
Falcon Oil
Highlights in 2014
• South Africa’s proven oil and natural gas reserves are limited, but it is extensively involved in the synthetic fuels industry, which accounts for the majority of the country’s domestically produced petroleum.
• Crude oil production is very limited, and most of the country’s oil is imported from the Middle East and West Africa. It is refined locally.
• PetroSA’s Ikhwezi offshore gas field project is expected to increase gas production output significantly until 2023.
• South Africa’s offshore potential is becoming more promising, with companies now exploring in deeper water areas.
• The Mineral and Petroleum Resources Development Act (MPRDA) Amendment Bill was passed by parliament in March 2014, but needs presidential approval prior to it being promulgated into law.
Recent developments
• PetroSA is currently developing the F-O gas field (Project Ikhwezi) to sustain gas supplies to its gas-to-liquids (GTL) plant.
• South Africa has very little proven natural gas reserves but holds notable shale gas resources estimated at 390Tcf of recoverable reserves by the EIA. The Government lifted the moratorium on licensing and exploration of shale resources in 2012.
• Although the Government released proposed new technical regulations to govern the exploration of shale resources and hydraulic fracturing, international companies are yet to be issued with permit licences for shale exploration.
• PetroSA is still evaluating the construction of its proposed 300 000bbl/d Mthombo crude oil refinery at Coega.
• Total and Shell are likely to begin deeperwater drilling operations during 2014.
• The Government has approved the transfer of a 76% stake in the offshore Ibhubesi gas project (Block2A, 7.4Tcf) to Sunbird Energy in an effort to tap into what has been described as the largest undeveloped gas field in South Africa.
• Sasol signed an exploration permit to explore for hydrocarbons off the east coast of KwaZulu-Natal in November 2013. In June 2014 Sasol farmed out 40% of the block to Eni for EUR236 million. Eni will operate this block located at the southern end of the Mozambique Channel if the deal is approved by the Government.
• In February 2014 the Government revised and postponed the implementation date of EURO V-type specifications ‘Clean Fuels 2’ until 1 July 2017, as industry and Government work out a cost recovery mechanism for the estimated USD4 billion upgrade.
Click HERE for an overview

Peroleum exploration and production activities in South Africa

History of Exploration and Production

The first organised search for hydrocarbons in South Africa was undertaken by the Geological Survey of South Africa in the 1940's. In 1965 Soekor (Pty) Ltd was formed by the government and began its search in the onshore areas of the Karoo, Algoa and Zululand Basins.In 1967 a new Mining Rights Act was passed and offshore concessions were granted to a number of international companies including Total, Gulf Oil, Esso, Shell, ARCO, CFP and Superior. This led to the first offshore well being drilled in 1969 and the discovery by Superior of gas and condensate in the Ga-A1 well situated in the Pletmos Basin.In 1970, Soekor (together with Rand Mines) extended its efforts to the offshore but, despite further encouraging discoveries, international companies gradually withdrew. This was largely as a result of political sanctions against South Africa. Thus from the mid 1970's to the late 1980's Soekor, the State owned oil and gas exploration company, was the sole explorer operating the entire offshore area of South Africa. The offshore areas were opened to international investors via a Licensing Round held in 1994.In 1999 Petroleum Agency SA was established and in 2001 a new State oil company, PetroSA, was formed by the merger of Soekor and Mossgas. 

The Mineral and Petroleum Resources Development Act was passed in 2002, and became operational on 1 May 2004.In the entire offshore area there are now over 300 exploration wells including appraisal and production wells. In addition 233,000 km of 2D seismic data and 10 200 km2 of 3D seismic data have been acquired since exploration began offshore.Exploration drilling was most active from 1981 to 1991 during which period some 181 exploration wells were drilled. The Bredasdorp Basin has been the focus of most seismic and drilling activity since 1980. 
The results of this exploration are the discovery of several small oil and gas fields, and the commercial production of oil and gas from the Bredasdorp Basin. In the Pletmos Basin there are two undeveloped gas fields and a further six gas discoveries. One oil and several gas discoveries have been made in the South African part of the Orange Basin. One of these discoveries is currently being appraised and developed as the Ibhubesi gas field by Forest Exploration International.Over the last few years there has been an upsurge in interest in exploration – both onshore and offshore South Africa.  Companies such as Shell, Anadarko, Total, Sasol, CNR have recently gained exploration acreage and are planning extensive seismic exploration and drilling campaigns.

According to Oil and Gas Journal (OGJ), South Africa had proven oil reserves of 15 million barrels as of January 2007. All of the proven reserves are located offshore southern South Africa in the Bredasdorp basin. In 2006, South Africa produced 200,000 barrels per day (bbl/d) of oil, of which 30,000 bbl/d was crude oil, and 170,000 bbl/d consisted of mostly synthetic liquids from coal and natural gas. Over 50 percent of South Africa’s oil consumption is imported. In 2006, South Africa consumed 519,000 bbl/d of oil, and imported 319,000 bbl/d of oil. According to the South African Petroleum Industries Association (SAPIA), the majority of crude oil imports destined for South African refineries come from the Middle East, with Iran and Saudi Arabia as the country’s chief suppliers. Nigeria and Angola (among others) also supply crude oil to South Africa.
In 2005, South Africa launched the National Energy Regulator of South Africa (NERSA). NERSA regulates policy over the entire South African energy industry and is responsible for implementing South Africa’s energy plan. South Africa also has a national oil and natural gas company, the Petroleum Oil and Gas Corporation of South Africa (PetroSA). PetroSA is responsible for managing and promoting the licensing of oil and natural gas exploration in the country. This includes both onshore and offshore exploration. International oil companies (IOCs) involved in South Africa’s upstream oil sector include Anschutz International, BHP Billiton, Forest Oil International, and Pioneer Natural Resources.
  • Oil production: 229,900 bbl/day (2004 est.)
  • Oil proved reserves: 7.84 million bbl (1 January 2002)
  • Natural gas production: 2.23 million cu m (2004 est.)
  • Natural gas proved reserves: 28.32 billion cu m (1 January 2005 est.)
  • PetroSA (State-owned) is involved in exploration and production in South Africa, as well as Gabon, Equatorial Guinea, Nigeria and Sudan. PetroSA has made several discoveries on block 9, Bredasdorp Basin, including the Oribi, Oryx and Sable fields. PetroSA and Energy Africa began producing oil in 1997 at the Oribi field, which was followed by the Oryx and Sable fields in 2000 and 2003, respectively. PetroSA and Pioneer developed Sable under a joint partnership. The field has six subsea wells connected to a floating, production, storage and offloading vessel (FPSO) with the capacity to process 60,000 bbl/d of oil, re-inject 80 million cubic feet per day (MMcf/d) of natural gas and recover natural gas liquids (NGLs). In 2003, the fields produced 58,000 bbl/d of crude oil total; however, due to steady declines, the fields currently produce around 30,000 bbl/d of crude.
  • In 2007, South Africa will auction four offshore blocks for exploration. In addition, BHP-Billiton plans to drill for oil in offshore acreage in western South Africa. BHP Billiton, however, which holds rights to two oil and gas exploration blocks off South Africa's West Coast, has reached an impasse with the government over the conversion of its exploration leases to new order mining rights, Business Report said.
    A key obstacle was understood to relate to the Department of Minerals and Energy's insistence that local courts arbitrate in disputes. Many oil-producing countries allow the International Court of Arbitration, a division of the International Chamber of Commerce, to resolve commercial disputes.
    The government has also blocked stabilisation provisions that would protect BHP Billiton, the world's largest mining group, from any future changes in the law.
  • Impact Oil & Gas Ltd, through its subsidiary Impact Africa Ltd, maintains an interest in four prospective areas offshore South Africa. An Exploration Permit and three Technical Cooperation Permits are held: 
1. Tugela Cone Exploration Right
    2. Tugela Cone Technical Cooperation Permit
      3. Bredasdorp  Technical Cooperation Permit
        4. Transkei (& Algoa) Technical Cooperation PermitTechnical Cooperation Permit (TCP) 
        A permit issued to applicant in terms of section 77(1) of MPRDA which allows the applicant to do desktop study, acquire seismic data from other sources including the Agency, etc;but does not include any prospecting or exploration activities. A TCP gives the holder the exclusive right to apply for an Exploration RightExploration RightA right granted to the applicant in terms of section 80 of MPRDA to re-process the existing seismic data, acquisition and processing of new seismic data or any other related activity to define a trap to be tested by drilling, logging and testing, including extended well testing, of a well with the intention of locating a discovery. An Exploration Right normally lasts for an initial 3-year period with three possible 2-year extensions – i.e. a total of 9 years.



        • AngloGold Ashanti (NYSE:AU; JSE:ANG) will spend R250m expanding capacity at its Vaal River South Uranium plant by up to 40% from its current production of 1,5 million pounds a year, the company said in February 2007. The South Vaal uranium plant, South Africa’s only uranium processing operation, was built in 1979 with a 20-25 year life, but the extended life of AngloGold’s uranium resources and positive market conditions encouraged the group to start a complete refurbishment two years ago. AngloGold Ashanti is currently producing uranium at a cost of about $15/lb, and is still selling it into contracts in which it is realizing only about $20/lb. The company's reserves amount to 25,9-million pounds and its resources are 128,6 million pounds. AngloGold also has a 50% stake in uranium trader Nufcor, which has its own uranium inventory.
        • SXR Uranium One Inc (TSX:SXR) is developing the Dominion Uranium Project located near the town of Klerksdorp. Dominion is one of the world’s largest undeveloped uranium deposits, with a significant secondary gold by-product. Production at Dominion is planned to commence in the first quarter of 2007, with a ramp-up in production to an average of 3,8 million pounds per year by 2011. It has an estmated probable reserve of 18,5 million tonnes at an average grade of 0,77 kg/t containing 31,3 million pounds of U3O8
        • First Uranium Corporation (FIU.TO, FURAF.PK) has 280 million pounds in uranium resources and 37 million oz in gold at its Ezulwini underground and Buffelsfontein tailings properties in South Africa. Ezulwini has measured and indicated resources of two million oz of gold and 6,8 million pounds of uranium oxide. Average annual production at Ezulwini for the life of the project, from 2007 to 2024, is expected to be 290,000 oz of gold and 888,000 pounds of uranium.
        • DRD Gold (South African, Nasdaq:DROOY; JSE:DRD) announced in April 2007 that it planned to create a joint venture with Mintails, a listed Australian company and Mineral & Mining Reclamation Services (MMRS). The partners have agreed to consolidate their uranium and gold-bearing properties on the West Rand with production possible after about two years of development, DRDGOLD said. These properties included Rand Leases, Durban Roodepoort Deep, East Champ D'Or, Luipaardsvlei and West Rand Consolidated. The assets have produced gold totalling 30 million ounces and uranium oxide of some 17,000 tonnes. In terms of the proposals, DRDGOLD and Mintails SA will hold 45% each in the joint venture with MMRS holding the balance. The company would also take a secondary listing in Johannesburg. The joint venture's lease consolidation provides a package of tenements with a continuous strike of over 20 kilometres, covering significant gold and uranium-producing, historical mines over the western margin of the Witwatersrand.
        • Harmony Gold Mining (South Africa, NYSE:HMY; JSE:HAR) is investigating the uranium reserves in its slimes dams. It had a relationship with Russia’s Renova, which could exploit Harmony’s uranium in exchange for helping Harmony find gold prospects in Russia. A presentation on Harmony's website said in October, 2007, that an exclusivity deal expired at the end of September and "interested parties" were approaching Harmony's advisors regarding the firm's uranium potential in dumps and also underground.
          The exclusivity deal apparently refered to a memorandum of understanding Harmony previously signed with Russian investment firm Renova, which had expressed interest in the uranium assets.
          Eleven out of Harmony's 56 tailing dams of mining waste contain high amounts of uranium. Its uranium assets might be valued at R5bn to R15bn depending on uranium prices. Harmony has put its uranium assets into a new company in which it holds a 40% stake. Pamodzi Resources Fund owns the remaining 60%. The intention is to list the company, which requires investment of R2.4bn to bring it into production of 2.2 million pounds of uranium a year.
        • Gold Fields (South Africa, NYSE:GFI; JSE:GFIELDS) has at least 63 million pounds of uranium and two million ounces of gold resources at its Beatrix four shaft. The company also has up to 30 million tonnes of slimes dams that could be processed for uranium and gold.
        • UraMin Inc (Canadian) is exploring properties in the Karoo Uranium Province (Ryst Kuil Channel and Sutherland) and the Springbok Flats basin. The total historical mineral resource in the Ryst Kuil Channel, outlined by a prior holder on the licenses for which the company has applied, is 64 million pounds of U3O8 (29 million t at a grade of 0,1%). Drilling is scheduled to commence in January 2007 with completion date of the feasibility study by March 2008. The Company believes that the property is capable of being placed into commercial production by late 2009 at the rate of 2,6 to 3,0 million pounds uranium per year with significant molybdenum as a by-product. The Sutherland area has been explored in the 1970s and 1980s by various companies including Union Carbide, Anglo American, Esso Minerals Africa Inc., Newmont Mining, Phelps Dodge, JCI, Rand Mines, Essex Mineral Company (a subsidiary of US Steel), Industrial Development Corporation of South Africa Ltd and Southern Sphere. According to RSG Global, historical summary reports indicate a total mineralization at various cut off grades of approximately 27 million lbs of U3O8 on the properties in Sutherland and proximate areas. The company has summitted 34 applications for prospecting rights by and on the behalf of Mago Resources, the Company's 70% owned subsidiary.The Springbok Flats basin is a fault-bounded graben which trends northeast-southwest for 190 km and is 60 km wide. The uranium is concentrated in coal and carbonaceous shales in the upper part of what is known as the ‘coal zone’ over a vertical metre. A 0,1 m thick enriched zone has also been identified. Uranium has been detected at depths between 20 m and 650 m with the majority of the occurrences at 100 m and 200 m below surface. Previous exploration work focused on the central and north-eastern sectors of the coal field and several deposits containing between 0,016% and 0,1% U over a 1 m width were delineated. The uranium potential of the area was investigated by Anglo American Corporation and Gencor and included feasibility studies on a bulk sample that was mined. Exploration ceased in 1982 and the deposits have not been exploited. According to a publication released by the Council of Geoscience in 1998, resources for the entire Springbok Flats coal field were estimated at 55,000 tonnes of U in 1994. The company has submitted twenty-two applications for prospecting rights by and on the behalf of Mago Resources, the Company's 70% owned subsidiary.
        • Brinkley Mining plc ( also active in the DRC) has applied for five areas in the Karoo uranium province, Waterval Damsfontein, Bloemfontein, Rietkuil, and Flagfontein, of which two have been granted. Blue Nightingale 709 (Pty) Ltd is the company's joint economic empowerment partner and also a 25% shareholder in Western Uranium (Pty) Ltd, a subsidiary of Brinkley Mining. Signet Mining Services Ltd has acquired a 4.07% stake in Brinkley Uranium Mining plc and is exploring the Damsfontein-Bloemfontein prospect 'The prospect is underlain by approximately 59.4 km2 of the target sandstone known as the Poortjie Member. The Prospect itself is known to be mineralised to potentially economic grades. This sandstone body is essentially flat-lying and has a maximum thickness of 33 m. The sandstone sheet trends north-northeast for at least 15 km and has an average width of 5 km.'
          'The mineralised zones are lenticular in shape and occur at various horizons in the sandstone unit, from directly above the base to 5 m above the base. They vary in thickness from 16 cm to 1.5 m and generally occur in the lower third of the sandstone body. Mineralisation is hosted by grey, non-calcareous, fine-grained and subordinate mudstone-pebble conglomerate.'
          'The higher uranium grades tend to coincide with the thicker mineralised zone and do not exceed 2,000 ppm U over the thickness of mineralised zones. Individual samples can be as high as 4,000 ppm U. Molybdenum grade is generally higher than uranium, with individual samples as high as 7,000 ppm Mo. Historic estimates of mineralisation showed an in-situ grade of U3O8 from 1,170 to 1,600 ppm U and a Mo grade of 1,000 to 1,060 ppm Mo.' (Source: Signet)


        • Anglo American mines the Black Mountain deposit. Black Mountain is a lead, zinc, copper and silver operation, situated in the Northern Cape Province of South Africa. Black Mountain's proven and probable reserves (2001) stood at 12,7 million t grading at an average of 1,8% zinc and 4,38 % lead in 2001. It also owns the Gamsberg deposit. Gamsberg is a large zinc deposit located approximately 20 km west of the Black Mountain mine. It is forecast that Gamsberg will produce 300,000 tonnes per annum of zinc metal at capacity.
        • UK-listed mining group Vedanta Resources said in November 2014 it had approved an in principle investment of $782m (R8.7bn) in the Gamsberg zinc deposit in South Africa's Northern Cape province with a view to producing first zinc during the group's 2017/18 financial year. In terms of the proposed investment, Vedanta will establish an open pit mine producing 250,000 tonnes/year of zinc and a refinery at the site of Skorpion, a mine first developed by Anglo American, producing 150,000 tonne/year of zinc concentrate. The Skorpion mine produced 13% less refined zinc, or 60,000 tonnes, in the first half of Vedanta's financial year. "The detailed feasibility study for the mining project was placed at the board meeting, while the work for setting up pilot plant for refinery conversion is underway," said Vedanta today as part of its interim results presentation. "Preliminary work on financing options have also been commenced," it said. Vedanta has a positive view on the internationally traded zinc market saying in its interim results that it expected a supply deficit to remain in place until 2018. London Metal Exchange zinc prices averaged $2,196 per tonne compared to $1,850/t in the same period in 2013, it said. The Gamsberg deposit and Skorpion mine were sold to Vedanta in 2010 as part of a package of zinc assets for about $1.3bn by Anglo American, then led by Cynthia Carroll who had embarked on a wave of non-core asset sales. The assets consisted of the Skorpion mine, the Lisheen mine in Ireland, and a 74% interest in Black Mountain Mining in South Africa, which holds 100% of the Black Mountain mine and the Gamsberg project. Of the total consideration, $698m related to the Skorpion mine, $308m related to the Lisheen mine and $332m related to Anglo American’s 74% interest in Black Mountain Mining. "We intend to rapidly develop Gamsberg, one of the largest high quality zinc projects in the world, leveraging our world-class large project development expertise," said Anil Agarwal, chairman of Vedanta, at the time. In his commentary to the interim results, in which Vedanta reported a 52% decline in interim share earnings of 9.4 US cents, Agarwal said the group planned to make the investment in the assets over three years. "Gamsberg is one of the world’s largest undeveloped zinc deposits, and zinc has attractive fundamentals as several large global mines reach the end of their lives," said Agarwal. The Gamsberg deposit has been on the radar of mining companies for more than 40 years and was once picked over by the former mining house Gold Fields of South Africa (GFSA) in joint venture with Phelps Dodge before it was sold to Anglo American. Anglo American 'sold' part of the Black Mountain deposit into Kumba Resources in the early days of South African empowerment with Exxaro Resources, created out of the demerger of Kumba Resources, ending up with a pre-empt over the assets which it did not subsequently exercise.

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