Modern Mining December 2022

product marketability, and market appetite. So far, we are making good progress and will soon begin the detailed design process which will inform the final capital requirements.” Bulk commodities Established in 2016, Afrimat’s bulk commodities portfolio includes iron-ore (Demaneng and Jenkins iron ore mines), anthracite (Nkomati Antracite) and manganese. Located in Mpumalanga, the Nkomati anthracite mine, which produces “among the best anthracite in the country” given the product’s low sulphur content, is nearing the end of life of the current pit.

medium, as well as in animal feed, with rare earth elements integral in supporting technological advancements such as high strength permanent magnets and battery technology. “The Glenover acquisition is important as farmers rely on phosphate as a key component in fertiliser, which makes it a highly sought-after commodity both locally and internationally. From a logistics perspec tive, phosphates can be moved economically via road, which frees it from a reliance on a single ser vice provider.” Further to this, Afrimat says it is well placed as the western world (USA and European countries) looks to reduce its dependence on China for rare earths and actively seeks out new sources of the mineral. The company is targeting rare-earths production in 18 months to two years’ time, if not longer, as Afrimat wants to ensure that extraction processes imple mented are efficient and reliable. “We are busy with research and development and test-work on rare earth’s minerals from the Glenover asset. As this is a new commodity for us, we are tak ing time to understand the product and its market, to ensure we know exactly what to expect.” The miner is progressing Stage 1 and Stage 2 initiatives at Glenover – Stage 1 entails mining the high-grade material and phosphate rock from stock piles acquired earlier in the year as well as building the processing plant for single super phosphate (SSP) production, which involves acid leaching and flotation. Stage 1 further entails the building of a ver miculite processing plant. Stage 2 – a much more sophisticated process – involves testing for nitro-phosphate and rare earths and developing ion exchange technology. Having achieved success at laboratory scale, Afrimat is in the process of proving it at pilot plant scale. “We are undertaking intensive test-work at pilot plant scale to ensure that we understand all the associated intricacies before we start building the first plant. To date, we have prepared the product and sent it to potential customers to determine

Afrimat engaged in drilling and blasting.

Afrimat Iron Ore Lyleveld Siding.

December 2022  MODERN MINING  15

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