POSTMASBURG, Northern Cape (miningweekly.com) – The first shipment of lump iron-ore from Kumba Iron Ore’s new Kolomela mine was an important step towards Anglo American's goal of increasing production from its South African iron-ore assets to 70-million tons a year by 2019, CEO Cynthia Carroll said on Friday.
Speaking at the official opening of the Northern Cape mine, located near the Sishen mine, the Anglo American chief said its Kumba subsidiary was “well on the way” to reaching the goal, with Kolomela set to produce between 4-million and 5-million tons this year.
The mine would ramp up to full production of nine-million tons next year, Kumba CEO Chris Griffith noted.
Carroll said Anglo American expected sustained growth in emerging economies such as China and India, which would underpin robust demand for commodities, supplemented by early recovery in the US.
"This outlook represents unique opportunities for South Africa," she noted.
Further, Carroll said the South African government’s policy and regulatory foundations for the mining industry were sound. "Focus now must be to ensure that they are effectively implemented and supported by the right investment in skills and infrastructure."
Contributing to economic development was pointed out as a key priority at Kolomela, with about 1 500 people having worked at the project to date. It currently employed 770 permanent staff and has over 700 contractors on site.
At full design capacity, 840 people would be employed permanently, 87% of whom would be sourced locally from the Northern Cape, along with 150 contractors.
Thus far, close to 300 new homes had been built for employees. These homes had been integrated into the town of Postmasburg to allow the local community to benefit from Kumba's R30-million spent on bulk services for the area.
"I believe we will become the leading global mining company...through the operational excellence of world-class assets such as Kolomela," Carroll enthused.
Adding to optimism was the 26-million lost-time injury-free man hours until the end of May.
Mineral Resources Minister Susan Shabangu welcomed Kolomela's contribution to economic development, but warned that the South African mining sector still had a long way to go in terms of economic development and transformation.
"We need to guard against the complacency that threatens to undermine progress. To the management of Kolomela, I ask you to guard against having such tendencies in your operations," the Minister said.
Further, she urged the new mine to adhere to environmental regulations.
"Do not get tempted to cut corners, do things right from the start and continue in that spirit until the end," Shabangu stated.