Dec 04, 2009
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Modise: A brand new iron-ore mine is giving South Africa's Northern Cape a multi-billion-rand boost.
Creamer: The new Kolomela mine is coming into action in the Northern Cape, which is being done by Kumba Iron Ore, close to Posmasburg. You can see, with the R8,5-billion being injected in there, what it is doing to the area.
This mine will produce about nine-million tons of iron-ore from the first half of 2012 and every last ton will be sold on the export market. The State-owned Transnet is setting up the rail spur there so that they can link to the big Sishen-Saldanha line. Of course, Kolomela is close to the big Sishen mine about 70 km away.
This will be a mine with three separate pits that will be developed there and one of the things they found as they start working on the mine there is that not very deep is a lot of water, which is quite surprising when one is in such a dry area.
But, there is a lot of water there and they are going to make sure that this is not lost and they are already starting to pipe it into the surrounding towns and offering it to farmers. So a lot of spin-offs there from the new Kolomela iron-ore mine in the Northern Cape.
Modise: Massive investment is earmarked for South Africa's coal-rich Waterberg region.
Creamer: Yes, the Waterberg region is really buzzing. You can imagine R124-billion going into Medupi power station alone. Then the coal mines that have to supply that now, the Grootegeluk coal mine being expanded at R9-billion in order to bring in that 14-million tons into the new proposed power station already supplying a big existing power station there.
So, plans for additional coal mines, this is a coal area and a lot is going to be around the carbon economy there. You can see that they are just waiting for the announcement for the new independent power producers and we heard Eskom talking about it this week.
This announcement is going to come through next year and once that does these operations are just on standby to create more mines there and then there will be another ten-billion-rand investors there. Sasol is there wanting to create the big Mafutha, which will be many more billions. So where ever we look there is value added to coal.
We see a new char plant going up and we see also other value added coal related activities and the big thing that is visible is housing, there is a lot of housing development going on there.
Modise: South Africa's struggling diamond industry is demanding a new deal from government.
Creamer: These days when people call for a town hall meeting then you that there are problems. The diamond industry had a town hall meeting in Johannesburg at which the miners, manufacturers and marketers all got together and there was a lot of town hall toughness and robust talking about the difficulties the industry was hit by the global meltdown.
But one of the big complaints was around South Africa's regulatory framework. They are not happy with the way the regulations after regulation after regulation effecting the diamond industry.
They want to do what is best for South Africa, but they want to speak to government at the highest level to make sure that they are on an equal footing, South Africa's diamond industry, with the other diamond industries in the world. We know that there have also been town hall meetings in Tel-Aviv, Mumbai and Gaborone.
So the diamond industry is in a mood of coming through with a renaissance at the moment and they want to, once they have gathered their case, to put it to government and look to possibly creating, at the jewellery centre in Johannesburg, a hybrid industrial development zone that will give them equal competiveness with the rest of the diamond industry around the world. This they want to bring into action next year.
Modise: Thanks very much. Martin Creamer is publishing editor of Engineering News and Mining Weekly, he'll be back with us at the same time next week.
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