Modern Mining February 2019


event, which attracted over 200 participating companies and organisations this year. Some observers believe the Mining Indaba faces a serious challenge from the 121 Mining Investment event, which is held in Cape Town at the same time, but this is a smaller, much more focused, affair aimed largely at the junior and mid-tier mining community. The Mining Indaba may not be the only game in town but it is – in Modern Mining ’s opinion – certainly the the best and unlikely to be displaced from its position of pre-eminence any time soon. Report by Arthur Tassell. Photos courtesy of Mining Indaba

supply the highly profitable ceramics industry.” A DFS on Arcadia has confirmed the tech- nical and financial viability of a 2,4 Mt/a development able to deliver average annual concentrate production of approximately 212 000 tonnes of 6 % spodumene, 216 000 tonnes of 4 % petalite and 188 000 lb of 25 % tantalum. The mine will be a conventional open-pit operation with the ore treated in a standard conventional hard-rock pegmatite processing plant. The project, which will cost US$165 million to develop, has a LOM revenue of US$2,93 bil- lion, generating average annual LOM pre-tax cash flows of US$104 million per annum. Prospect Resources was selected as the most promising of 22 junior mining companies who participated in the Battlefield, which included explorers and developers in battery metals, bulk and base metals, precious metals and energy minerals. The finalists in the competition were Pro­ spect; Orion Minerals, which is developing the Prieska zinc-copper project, located in South Africa’s Northern Cape; Theta Gold Mines (previously Stonewall Resources), which has a portfolio of gold assets in South Africa’s Mpumalanga Province; and Avenira, whose flagship asset is the Baobab phosphate project in Senegal. Orion was selected as the runner-up to Prospect. Finally, and summing up the Mining Indaba, this was the first to held under the manage- ment of the new owners, the LSE-listed ITE Group. Modern Mining ’s impression was that it was extremely well organised with a huge variety of presentations, panel discussions, forums, special information sessions and the like addressing virtually every aspect of min- ing in Africa. Supporting these activities was the exhibition that forms an integral part of the

More than 200 companies and organisations exhibited at the Mining Indaba.

Platinummining industry in crisis The Minerals Council, led by CEO Roger Baxter, and Anglo American Platinum’s CEO, Chris Griffith, hosted a media briefing on the National Platinum Strategy for South Africa at Mining Indaba 2019. The PGM sector ranks as one of the largest components of the mining industry and in 2018 produced around 259 tonnes of platinum, in the process earning about R96 billion in revenue. It employed around 168 000 people directly, paid employees R48 billion in earnings and contributed R0,9 billion in royalties. Notwithstanding these impressive figures, the sector is in crisis. Over the past five years, it has struggled with an over-supplied market and, at current prices, more than 60 % of the platinum mining industry is loss-making or marginal. The National Platinum Strategy for South Africa, developed by the Platinum Leadership Forumwhich comprises platinumproducingmembers of the Minerals Council, is aimed at addressing the current crisis, preventing further erosion of the economic capacity of the industry and ensuring that the world’s largest PGM resource realises its full value through the addi- tion of more than 1 million jobs and a contribution of R8,2 trillion to South Africa’s economy by 2050. The Council believes that achieving the aims of the National Platinum Strategy will require collaboration between all stakeholders and, in particu- lar, will require urgent and bold action by the South African government in the form of support which will allow the PGM sector to tackle short-term challenges while at the same time investing in the long-term future. 

February 2019  MODERN MINING  39

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