The East Manganese project in the Northern Cape of South Africa has been granted a water use licence, paving the way for mining operations to commence soon.
Menar’s first manganese asset located near Hotazel, the R250 million ($15.1 million) project was granted environmental authorisations in February 2019, a mining right in August 2019 and water use licence last month.
Sitatunga Resources, whose major shareholder is investment company Menar, acquired East Manganese in 2018.
Menar Managing Director, Vuslat Bayoglu, said the timely approvals were encouraging for the company’s planned investments in the medium term.
“East Manganese is part of our group’s planned R7 billion investments,” Bayoglu said. “Speedy regulatory approvals are critical to unlock the investment spend and to contribute to South Africa’s economic revival. We are, therefore, impressed by Human Settlements, Water and Sanitation Minister, Lindiwe Sisulu’s, recent undertaking to continuously improve turnaround times for applications.”
East Manganese holds an approximate 1 Mt run of mine (ROM) resource, and will produce around 30,000 t/mth ROM manganese ore, according to the company. Due to the conical shape of the proposed pit, it will take some 7-8 months to reach first ore, after which steady-state production will be achieved swiftly, Menar said.
East Manganese will be an open-pit mine with a single, 14 ha pit located on a small 50 ha portion of the total 1,000 ha mining right area. The remaining unused portion of the mining right area will be used for cattle and game farming by a local farmer, Menar says.
The mine will utilise a dry crushing and screening plant system, which will reduce water usage at the plant, to produce lumpy (85%) and fine (15%) particle manganese products.
Bayoglu pointed out that all the mine’s infrastructure will be powered by solar energy, including its offices and weighbridge.
The decision to diversify the Menar Group’s commodity portfolio is in keeping with its aspirations of becoming a leading South African diversified mining company, Bayoglu said.
“We are committed to realising South Africa’s full mining potential by continuously seeking out new investment opportunities and East Manganese is a clear illustration of this continued commitment,” he said.
He added: “The establishment of the East Manganese mine will aid economic activities in the area and create between 70-80 direct new jobs on the mining complex once peak production has been reached. If we multiply this figure by 10 [which is the average number of people that are dependent on a single salary earner in South Africa], then, in essence, 700 -800 people will directly benefit from this project.
“In addition, the indirect economic benefit of the operation, even though not quantifiable, is also far reaching. The mine’s recruitment process is being undertaken in conjunction with Joe Morolong Local Municipality which, through its Local Economic Development forum, has been very helpful to date.”