Modern Mining March 2023
ODERN M INING March 2023 | Vol 19 No 3 For people who are serious about mining
IN THIS ISSUE African Trading Group boldly expands to new frontiers Lindi Jumbo on-track for year-end graphite production Role of Africa’s bulk and base-metals in the global economy Sandvik’s legacy drill rig takes a step up
ARTICLES COVER 8 African Trading Group boldly expands to new frontiers COMMODITIES OUTLOOK 10 Gold market outlook 2023: The global economy at a crossroads GRAPHITE 12 Lindi Jumbo on-track for year-end graphite production ENERGY 16 Golden opportunities to reduce climate-related risks OPENCAST MINING 18 Sandvik’s legacy drill rig takes a step up 22 Strong energy metals demand underpins Capital’s growth MINING INDABA REVIEW 26 Role of Africa’s bulk and base-metals in the global economy 28 TOMRA Mining helps miners drive the green agenda
AUTOMATION 32 VUG heads for an autonomous future REGULARS MINING NEWS 4 QGC partners with Marula Mining to mine future metals projects Thakadu and Mertech Marine to JV on recycling 5 Annual gold demand soars to a new decade high in 2022 New opportunities secure Kibali’s +10-year plan Change to Perseus’s senior management team 6 Industry commits to unwavering focus on safety Resolute appoints CFO Anglo American senior leadership change COLUMN : ROSS HARVEY 36 Declaring a state of disaster in SA won’t solve the disaster SUPPLY CHAIN NEWS 38 Weir Minerals Africa’s integrated solutions deliver plant efficiency Zest WEG gains traction in oil and gas VoltVision delivers significant upside for Endeavour mines New WearCheck labs open in Kathu, Johannesburg 39 Steinmüller Africa celebrates 60 years of business in Africa Managerial appointment strengthens Bosch Rexroth South Africa Group
ON THE COVER African Trading Group expands its geographical footprint to conquer new frontiers in Central America and Asia. See story on page 8.
March 2023 MODERN MINING 1
I’ll do my crying in the rain C hatGPT is coming for your job and, if you are a journalist, you are in the firing line. From the financial sector to health care to publish ing, several industries remain vulnerable as
entities and through public-private partnerships. Transport and logistics have been allocated an estimated R351.1 billion, which will include SANRAL improving the road infrastructure network, while water and sanitation has been allocated R132.5 billion over the next three years. But whether this will translate to infrastructure spend that will see our decrepit and run-down infrastructure fixed, remains to be seen. Mining Indaba While faith in our ruling party’s ability to deliver remains questionable, given promises over the years that have failed to materialise, the mining industry’s drive to get down to business and push for greater output, is not. The throng of attendees at the Investing in African Mining Indaba, to levels last seen pre Covid, was most heartening. There was a palpable buzz as project developers came out in force to court investors and, in the jostle for funding, junior and mid-tier miners with energy metal related projects were the star attractions. The overarching theme of sustainability cer tainly permeated across all topics, with most clients interviewed at the event keenly targeting a lower carbon footprint – see TOMRA story (pg 28) and CRU (pg 26). In this edition, we speak to Walkabout Resources, which is on-track for graphite pro duction from its Lindi Jumbo project, in Tanzania, before year-end. According to CEO Andrew Cunningham, the project will come online at a most fortuitous time just as demand for graphite outstrips supply and prices for the critical metal soar (pg 12). Also of note is Canyon Coal’s new R1.4 bil lion Gugulethu Colliery, in Mpumalanga, which is scheduled for production in the second half of 2023 (pg 24). Our cover story, African Trading Group, is boldly courting international clients, having recently entered the Central American and Asian markets (pg 8).
artificial intelligence is increasingly being used to perform a variety of tasks, including producing sophisticated written content. In fact, consumer publication CNET has been using AI to generate stories since last year and, for those yearning to get that prestigious MBA, here’s a news alert – in a recent MBA exam administered at Penn’s elite Wharton School, ChatGPT scored higher than many humans. So, the next time you read this column be wary – check carefully to see who’s written it. Even as AI targets your lunch-money, storms wreak havoc and loadshedding, our constant companion, adds to your woes as it hammers businesses and increases numbers in the unemployment line. Finance Minister, Enoch Godongwana’s medium-term growth outlook, revised down from the 1,6% forecast in October, to 1.4 per cent for 2023 to 2025, will leave you feeling even more defeated. However, a big positive from the budget speech is government’s incentive for businesses and individuals to take up renewable energy. According to Godongwana, individuals who install rooftop solar panels from 1 March 2023 will be able to claim a rebate of 25 per cent of the cost of the panels, up to a maximum of R15 000. This can be used to reduce the tax liability in the 2023/24 tax year. But best be quick to take up the offer as the incentive is only available for one year. Importantly, government will guarantee solar related loans for small and medium enterprises on a 20 per cent first-loss basis. National Treasury is set to launch the Energy Bounce Back Scheme in April 2023. Other good news from the budget speech is that the public sector is projected to spend R903 billion on infrastructure over the medium-term. The largest portion of this, around R448 billion, will be spent by state-owned companies, public
ChatGPT ChatGPT is a chatbot developed by OpenAI and launched in November 2022.
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QGC partners with Marula Mining to mine future metals projects
Signing on as a majority shareholder and major investor QGC is set to transform the African-focused mining and development company, Marula Mining, and fast-track its progress, the company said. QGC has established itself as one of South Africa’s leading independent com modity, logistics and investment houses. “QGC has the network to open interna tional partners for sales and marketing and we intend to fund the company and bol ster the value of the assets within a short period of time. After careful due diligence and geological investigation, we believe Marula Mining is a big play and we intend to throw much of our time and effort to get it there during this year,” says mining mag nate, Quinton van der burgh.
“With Quinton, we can now go full throt tle and realise the assets we have,” says Marula Mining CEO, Jason Brewer. Marula Mining is a battery metals investment and exploration company with interests in several high value mine projects in Africa: Blesberg Lithium and Tantalum Mine in South Africa; Nkombwa Hill Project in Zambia; and Kinusi Copper mine in Tanzania. “Lithium is one of the most sought-after commodities in the electric vehicles sector – for lithium-ion batteries – and you have trading prices at an all-time high,” said Brewer. “Renewables are a very exciting space to be moving into and it’s through joint ven tures that QGC is able to do so, at the same
Jason Brewer and Quinton van der Burgh.
time expanding our commodities portfo lio”, says Quinton van der Burgh, Q Global Commodities CEO.
Thakadu and Mertech Marine to JV on recycling
Beneficiation and trading company, Thakadu Resources, and Mertech Marine have agreed to a joint venture to ben eficiate copper recycled from subsea telecommunication cables and to establish a new high-purity copper sulphate plant in South Africa. The plant will be equally funded by the JV partners and will provide a unique, reliable and responsible supply of copper sulphate for the mining, agricultural and chemical industries in Sub-Saharan Africa, the company said. Having pioneered the responsible supply of battery raw materials from South Africa, Thakadu plans to build and operate the new plant within Mertech Marine’s exist ing recycling facility in Gqeberha, South Africa. The plant will have the capacity to produce 5 200 mt of high-purity copper sulphate per annum. Commercial production is planned for 2024, subject to the necessary regulatory approvals.
Thakadu Resources and Mertech Marine JV to beneficiate copper.
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Annual gold demand soars to a new decade high in 2022
The World Gold Council’s latest Gold Demand Trends report reveals that annual gold demand in 2022 increased by 18% year-on-year, hitting 4 741 t – the high est annual total since 2011. Boosted by a record fourth quarter, demand for gold was propelled by hefty central bank-buying and persistently strong retail investment. Annual central bank demand more than doubled to 1 136 t in 2022, up from 450 t the year before and to a new 55-year record high. Purchases in Q4 2022 alone reached 417 t, bringing the total for the sec ond half of 2022 to more than 800 t. Investment demand in 2022 was up 10% on the previous year. The increase was the result of two factors: a notable slowdown in ETF outflows and strong gold bar and coin demand. Gold bars and coins continued to hold favour with investors in several countries
around the world, which helped to offset weak ness in China. Total European gold bar and coin investment for 2022 surpassed 300 t, aided by persis tently robust German demand. There was also significant growth in the Middle East, where annual demand increased by 42% year on-year, the WGC said.
Annual gold demand soars to a new decade high in 2022.
Change to Perseus’s senior management team Total annual supply in 2022 contin ued its gentle upwards trajectory, up by 2% y-o-y to 4 755 t and remaining above pre-pandemic levels. Mine production increased to 3 612 t – a four year high. contributed to the annual decline in jewel lery demand.
Jewellery demand softened slightly in 2022, down 3% at 2 086 t. This weakness was largely driven by the marked drop in Chinese annual jewellery demand, down 15% as consumer activity was curtailed by ongoing Covid-19 lockdowns for most of the year. The gold price rally in Q4 also
Africa’s largest gold mine, Kibali, is on track to replace its reserves beyond the ounces depleted by mining in the previous year, while new growth opportunities will also support its +10-year business plan and its status as one of Barrick’s Tier One1 assets, the company said. Barrick CEO Mark Bristow said that Kibali’s prolific KCD orebody was continu ing to deliver additional value with current drilling focused on converting resources New opportunities secure Kibali’s +10-year plan into reserves and exploring the lodes which are still open down plunge. In addition, the Mengu Hill, Ikanva and Gorumbwa targets are showing the potential for joining Kibali’s underground portfolio. In line with Barrick’s global policy of employing and advancing host country nationals, Arthur Kabila has been appointed as Kibali’s first Congolese general manager. A further eight key man agement and technical positions were filled by Congolese last year.
ASX-listed Perseus Mining has advised that after seven years of service, its chief operat ing officer, Chris Woodall, will retire from the company on 30 June 2023. As part of the management transition, David Schummer, after a period of familiarisation with the company’s West African operations, will assume the role of COO reporting to the CEO. Prior to joining Perseus, Schummer had an impressive career in the mining industry, first with Newmont Mining Corporation where, amongst other roles, he held the positions of vice president – North American Operations based in Nevada, USA, and senior vice presi dent – African Operations based in Ghana. In 2018, he relocated to Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, to join Ma’aden as senior vice president, Ma’aden Gold and Base Metals, a role that has relevance to Perseus’s plans to develop the Meyas Sand Gold Project in Sudan.
Kibali’s prolific KCD orebody continues to deliver additional value.
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The Minerals Council South Africa and its members continue their unwaver Industry commits to unwavering focus on safety ing commitment to Zero Harm and note the significant reduction in fatalities, to
a record low of 49 during 2022, after a concerted effort by all stakeholders and a focus on the safety strategies developed to improve working conditions. “The industry will build on the momentum achieved dur ing 2022 when we halted and significantly reversed the regression in safety during the previous two years in which 74 and 60 of our colleagues died in 2021 and 2020 respectively. This has been the result of many organisational and industry level interventions and resolute leadership from, particularly, the industry CEOs initiating and supporting multi-tier projects as part of the Khumbul’ekhaya strategy,” says Lerato Tsele, acting head of safety and sustainable development at the Minerals Council. The industry reported a total of 1 946 serious injuries in 2022, down from 2 123 in 2021. There were reductions of between 19% and 47% in fatalities across all com modities, while iron ore and manganese reported no fatalities during 2022.
Industry records significant reduction in fatalities to 49 during 2022.
Anglo American senior leadership change
Anglo American Platinum’s CEO Natascha Viljoen, will join Newmont Corporation, the US-based mining company, as its Chief Operating Officer upon completion of her notice period of up to 12 months. Viljoen will continue to serve as CEO of Anglo American Platinum and as a member of Resolute appoints CFO Gold miner, Resolute Mining, has appointed Chris Eger as its new CFO. With the decision to move the CFO position to London, Eger replaces Doug Warden who has decided not to relocate. Eger commenced on 27 February 2023, while Warden remains with the com pany until 31 March 2023 to ensure an orderly handover. During his 25-year career, Eger has held sev eral senior financial, commercial and leadership roles, in the resources and investment bank ing sectors. Most recently he was the CFO of Chaarat Gold and was previously CFO of Nyrstar NV and the M&A director at Trafigura AG. Resolute’s CEO, Terry Holohan, said he is delighted to have Eger join the team. “Eger is a highly regarded CFO, who has extensive global experience in the resources and investment banking sectors.”
Anglo American’s Group Management Committee until that time. Duncan Wanblad, CEO of Anglo American, said: “Viljoen is an outstand ing leader who, having joined us in 2014, transformed our technical processing capa bilities and performance, and subsequently
Natascha Viljoen is CEO of Anglo American
lead our world class PGMs business for the last three years. Her commitment to lead Anglo American Platinum and its continued performance improvement as a platform for growth through her notice period is a clear demonstration of her strong personal quali ties. The process to identify her successor is now underway.” “While I have identified the next phase of my career, my commitment to deliver ing our clear objectives during this year is as firm as ever, beginning, of course, with keeping our people safe, every day,” said Viljoen.
Chris Eger is Resolute Mining’s new CFO.
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African Trading Group boldly expands to
Johannesburg-based maintenance supply chain services company African Trading Group is expanding its geographical footprint to conquer new frontiers in Central America and Asia. This is not just any ordinary expansion – it’s a high-stakes adventure into the unknown, full of risks and rewards – and, with our expertise and determination, African Trading Group is poised to make our mark on the global stage, says CEO LeeAnn Strydom.
E stablished in 2010 as a fledgling business, today African Trading Group, which specialises in conveyor belting equipment, wear and corrosion services, plant maintenance and procurement of equipment and products for various industries such as oil & gas, rail, ports, manufacturing, and mining, is growing in leaps and bounds. And it has recently opened three new international branches. In August last year, the company opened a branch in Panama City and, following strong demand for its products, expanded its warehouse to 400 m². “Establishing a branch in Panama (Central America) allows us to be closer to our customers and, by manufacturing in-house, we are able to supply products directly to end-users and avoid the supply chain delays that businesses face. Despite being a product supplier for just six months, we have delivered services in belt maintenance and supplied pulleys, laggings, and ceramics, to a copper mine in Latin America. The opportunity for growth in the resource-rich Latin American market, home to several massive mines, especially copper mines, is tremendous for us,” says Strydom. As Panama is a strip of land connecting North and South America, this allows African Trading access to both the North and Latin American markets. Dinarte Menezes, the global business developer for African Trading Group explains that Panama
The Panama Canal Authority has increased the maximum allowable length for vessels transiting the Neopanamax Locks.
offers a business-friendly environment with low tax rates, minimal regulations, and a stable political and economic climate. “Aside from the special economic zones and incentives for businesses that invest in specific sectors, the government in Panama has, over the past few years, invested heavily in infrastructure development including the expansion of the Panama Canal and the development of new ports, airports, and highways. These investments have improved transportation and logistics capabilities, making it easier for businesses to move goods and services in and out of the country. Moreover, Panama uses the US dollar as its official currency, which provides stability and certainty for businesses operating in the region,” says Menezes. Saudi Arabia Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030, which underpins its strategy to diversify its economy away from oil and gas to mining, and its active recruitment of specialists to help grow its resources sector, has been the impetus for African Trading to open an office in Al Jubail, a well-known business district in Saudi Arabia. “Although the country is eager to make a success of mining, it currently has limited skills sets for conveyor belt maintenance. As an expert in the field, African Trading, which has a partnership with local entity Synergies Tech, recently won two substantial conveyor-belt maintenance contracts for mining projects,” explains Strydom. Aside from its success in mining, African Trading has also been active in the cement industry and the military in Qatar. The company employs 300 people across its branches, with growth expectations from its international foray expected to see African Trading employ more people.
Conveyor belt replacement for a project in Tete Province in Mozambique.
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steel related products at its engineering workshop in Wilbart and, apart from regular orders, the company recently completed an order for cattle kraals for the farming industry and hospital beds for the health care sector. “African Trading Group is an extremely agile company that is keen to assist clients with their steel product needs,” concludes Strydom.
African Trading provided conveyor belt equipment for a cement plant in Saudi.
According to global supply chain manager Shailen Sing, as the company expands its geographical footprint it is also promoting the uptake of South African products to international markets, including several well-known South African brands that are integral to the mining, industrial, construction, mechanical, and electrical segments (used in the assembly, maintenance, and repair processes) to Latin America and Saudi Arabia. “Courage, fortitude, and a strong leadership team have been the essential ingredients that have helped African Trading Group succeed in these new markets,” says Sing. Bridging the supply chain gap The commodities super cycle sees most metals at the top end of the pricing spectrum, particularly com modities central to the clean energy agenda, such as copper, cobalt and lithium, with miners targeting volumes to benefit from soaring commodity prices. However, as the world grapples with supply chain challenges, including shipping delays, shipping container shortages, and higher shipping costs, African Trading’s newly established presence in key international markets provides customers with vital equipment and services at close quarters to meet production targets. And given that African Trading Group is a Mauritius headquartered company, it can distribute products and equipment from Mauritius to key areas in Europe, Latin America, and Saudi Arabia. “Our expanded geographic footprint allows us to trade easily across key mining destinations and, as such, our supply chain capabilities have become exceptionally strong, tipping our growth prospects beyond expectations,” says Strydom. African Trading Group South Africa African Trading Group South Africa manufactures
African Trading Groups key offerings Conveyor-belt maintenance: African Trading Group provides a comprehen sive range of conveyor belt maintenance services, including installations, maintenance, and repairs. The company has the expertise and equipment to handle all types of conveyor belts, regardless of size or complexity. Belt cleaning systems: African Trading Group offers a range of belt clean ing systems that are designed to improve the efficiency and performance of conveyor belts. These systems help remove dirt, debris, and other materials from the belt that reduce wear and tear; thereby extending the belt’s life. Belt splicing and repair materials: The company supplies a range of splic ing and repair materials, including adhesives, tools and accessories, that are used to join conveyor belts together and repair the damage. These high quality products are designed to provide a long-lasting and reliable solution. Safety equipment: African Trading Group also provides personal protective equipment (PPE), such as hard hats, safety glasses, gloves, and high-visibility clothing, to ensure the safety of workers when working around conveyor belts and related equipment. Procurement services: The company provides procurement services for vari ous products, including mining equipment, spare parts, and consumables. African Trading Group has established relationships with multiple suppliers and manufacturers around the world, which allows them to offer clients high quality products at competitive prices. Logistics support: The company provides logistics support services, includ ing warehousing, distribution, and freight forwarding. This ensures that the products are delivered to the client’s sites promptly and efficiently. Technical support: African Trading Group provides technical support to its clients, including equipment installation, commissioning and training. The company has a team of experienced technicians and engineers who can assist with installing and maintaining the equipment. Health and safety services: The company provides health and safety ser vices, including risk assessments and safety audits. This helps to ensure that the clients’ operations are conducted in a safe and compliant manner.
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Gold market outlook 2023: The global economy at a crossroads By Krishan Gopaul, senior market analyst EMEA, World Gold Council
In 2022, economic and geopolitical uncertainty added strain to a global economy already reeling from the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic in the previous two years. As inflation soared, cen
Krishan Gopaul, senior market analyst EMEA, World Gold Council.
L ooking back, gold performed admirably under the circumstances, posting a small but notable (0.4% y-o-y) gain at the end of the year. Weak physically-backed gold ETF demand was off set by other pockets of strong demand – retail bar and coin investment and central banks – which sup ported gold’s overall performance. At the beginning of 2023, the global economy is at a crossroads as it reckons with the economic shocks of the past year. Against such a backdrop, gold’s performance will be shaped by the intertwin ing effects of economic growth, interest rates and inflation, in addition to the influence of geopolitics and the still-strong US dollar. In our 2023 Gold Market Outlook, the World Gold Council explores three possible scenarios and what each could mean for the global gold market. 1. The global economic consensus After the shocks of 2022, the global economic con sensus is that recession is likely this year. Growth tral banks tightened monetary policy ag gressively in an attempt to regain control.
Investors turn to gold for its safe haven investment qualities.
is set to remain low as forecasts dictate that global GDP is due to rise by just 2.1%, its lowest for forty years (not including the global financial crisis and the Covid-19 pandemic). If a recession does take place, gold’s value as a long-term, strategic asset will come into focus. Continued geopolitical tensions represent a material economic and financial risk for many econo mies. As we saw in 2022, investors sought to shield themselves from turbulence by turning to gold for its safe haven investment qualities. It is likely that
Gold being mined from underground.
this geopolitical risk premium will remain in place for some time. Yet lower (though still elevated) infla tion will likely result in less interest from retail investors who might have turned to gold as a hedge against inflation. 2. Implications of a more severe downturn The consensus view focused on a mild recession appears to be playing out, although a few devel opments since the release of our 2023 Gold Market Outlook nod to a possible, more severe downturn. We could also see a ‘stagflationary’ environment emerge, which in turn could knock business profitability and ultimately employment rates. Most assets tend to move in
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Casting gold at a gold mine. tandem with the stock market in times of turmoil but, in contrast, gold has offered ‘true’ diversification, moving opposite to stocks when uncer tainty increases. As a result, this scenario could generate significant demand for gold as a safe haven investment, and the resulting cost pre mium. Historically, gold has typically fared well during recessions and can provide protection, delivering positive returns in five out of the last seven recessions. 3. A soft landing While data shows a mild recession and weaker earnings forecast as the most likely outcome for 2023, a third, possible scenario is a softer than anticipated landing. This could lead to restored business confidence and increased spending, with risk assets likely faring well and bond yields remaining high. In this situation, the combination of weaker institutional investment demand and a slowdown in retail investment (due to increased market confidence) could be less favourable for gold’s performance. A golden future? While the current consensus continues to point to recession, the jury is still out on how severe it will be. On balance, gold’s performance is likely to remain stable but with positive upside in 2023 as it faces competing crosswinds from its drivers. Nevertheless, amid the current conditions and likely scenarios for 2023, the gold market will continue to benefit from its diverse demand drivers and dual role as both a consumer good and investable asset.
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Lindi Jumbo on-track for year-end graphite production As Tanzania’s pioneer graphite mine developer, Walkabout Resources, hurtles towards first production from the Lindi Jumbo project, it does so at a most fortuitous time just as demand for graphite outstrips supply and prices for the critical metal soar, CEO Andrew Cunningham tells Modern Mining in an exclusive interview. By Nelendhre Moodley .
W alkabout Resources’ 100%-owned high grade Lindi Jumbo Graphite Mine is located some 460 km from Dar es Salaam, Tanzania’s capital, within the highly prospec tive Mozambique belt, known for its world-class, coarse flake graphite deposits. Citing London-based price reporting agency, Benchmark Mineral Intelligent’s latest report, Cunningham says that to keep apace with soaring demand, the industry would need to establish 97 new graphite mines, each producing 56 000 tpa of graphite concentrate, in the next 12 years. This gives the soon-to-be-miner, first mover advantage in a highly lucrative race. Demand for graphite is largely driven by appetite from the electric vehicle (EV) market and, although the EV market share is still small compared to tradi tional vehicles, this is likely to change in the coming years as major economies transition away from fossil fuels and rapidly move into clean energy. Graphite is essential to the development of lithium batteries and is the largest component in lithium-ion
batteries by weight, with each battery containing as much as 20-30% graphite. In fact, an electric car contains more than 90 kg of coated spherical puri fied graphite. “The price of small graphite flakes,” says Cunningham, “is extremely robust at the moment and, as of the last week of January, traded at $895/t”. It is rapidly closing the gap on the
price for the larger flakes (trading at up to $2000/t), which is propitious for the Lindi Jumbo project as the high-grade deposit is skewed towards jumbo flakes (75% above 180 microns or 80 mesh i.e., large flakes). “Around a quarter of the graphite from the Lindi Jumbo project is small flake size, which means that the majority of our premium product will trade at the top end of the price range.” On the back of strong demand for smaller flake size, the price has jumped by over 30% in the past
Construction underway at the Lindi Jumbo mine.
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note that participants in the graphite industry do have a good handle on the sales price of graph ite and associated supply demand fundamentals. Information related to prices and graphite supply and demand is readily available, with several consultan cies regularly reporting on the market. Companies in the mining industry, such as Walkabout Resources, subscribe to these consultancies for a weekly update on key aspects, like graphite prices.” Meanwhile, the Australian-based minerals devel oper is in discussions to raise a further $10m for the completion of the final stages of project. A major portion of the $10m will be used to pay for the final pieces of equipment manufactured and in storage in China, the electrical and instrumenta tion component of the project, completion of onsite
year. And given that demand for graphite is forecast to outstrip supply, starting in 2023, Cunningham expects the price of graphite to skyrocket. “The Lindi Jumbo project will deliver 40 000 tpa of graphite concentrate, which is a substantial amount in a market currently delivering ~1 mtpa of graphite concentrate,” he says, adding that the graphite mar ket is dominated by Chinese production. Funding Lindi Jumbo Graphite project Walkabout Resources recently faced funding chal lenges, following the delay in debt drawdown from CRDB Bank in Tanzania, which saw the company raise A$16.6 million to ensure the continuation of the construction of the Lindi Jumbo mine. “Even though our preference is to fund our graph ite project from debt, we took the equity route to ensure that contractors were paid and that the proj ect remained largely on-track. The major portion of our project has, so far, been funded out of equity. It is interesting to note that graphite players, such as Syrah Resources, which is operating its Balama graphite mine in Mozambique, and NextSource Molo graphite project in Madagascar, have both had their projects funded out of equity.” Despite graphite being in high-demand and the outlook for the commodity being highly favourable, a lack of understanding of the graphite market, especially by investors who view it as an opaque market without pricing transparency, has negatively impacted the ability of junior miners to access fund ing in order to take their projects from inception through to completion. “However,” says Cunningham, “it is important to
The company has undertaken a few blasts onsite to expose the open pit.
Loading and hauling taking place at the mine.
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“Given the nature of the Lindi Jumbo deposit, the tailings dam will have a small footprint and will be built incrementally throughout the LOM. The plant will process 230 000 t of ore per year, 40 000 t of which will be concentrate and 190 000 t tailings. A large portion of the waste rock generated in the mining process is being used in the development of the tailings dam. We have taken all precautionary measures in the development of the tailings stor age facility and have lined it to avoid ground water contamination. Importantly, we will recycle the water from the tailings for use at the mine.” Walkabout Resources has employed a local con sultant to ensure quality control of the tailings dam. The Lindi Jumbo mine developer is aiming to complete construction on the Lindi Jumbo within six months of the arrival of the remaining equipment, fol lowed by two months of commissioning (dry and wet) and ramp up to nameplate capacity. Says Cunningham: “The Lindi Jumbo project is a one-of-its-kind project consisting of an extremely high reserve grade – almost 18% – which is the high est reserve grade of any other development graphite project in Africa. From the onset, our stance has been to keep the project manageable, producing 40 000 tpa of concentrate. As we are not resource bound on the long-life asset, which has a LOM of 24 years, this leaves us with ample growth opportuni ties, including the ability to increase production to 50 000 tpa in concentrate without any further capital injection. However, this decision will depend largely on market demand.” Unlocking further opportunities The Lindi Graphite project, a Tanzanian project, built and operated by Tanzanians, is set to drive an influx of investment into the country, particularly in the graphite space. “As a pioneer in the Tanzanian graphite space, we are seeing interest from other potential mine developers looking to invest locally which is good for both us and our peers, as well as the country,” says Cunningham. The Tanzanian Government has been investing in the development of key infrastructure in the southern part of the country, where the Lindi Jumbo project is located, including roads, grid-power, schools, banks and hotels, amongst others. “We have sufficient grid power delivered to site to run our entire operations, which is a huge win for us, as grid power costs a fraction of the price of diesel. Power costs account for as much as 26% of process ing plant operating cost,” explains Cunningham. Although the Lindi Jumbo project is set to employ between 75 and 100 people, Cunningham says the knock-on effect of contractors and indirect ser vice providers will be a game-changer for the local economy. According to Cunningham, the Lindi Jumbo
concrete and civil works, the tailings dam and associ ated earthworks. With the Lindi Jumbo project more than halfway complete, Cunningham notes that investors are certainly keen to ink a partnership with Walkabout Resources. “The fact that the project is at an advanced stage of completion and that the Lindi Jumbo project is one of few projects globally that will be in production by year end, remain key con siderations driving investor interest in the project.” Construction progress Construction of the Lindi Jumbo graphite mine has been ongoing since first mobilisation in late 2021. As at the end of January 2023 Walkabout’s flag ship project was more than 50% complete, with the processing plant over 65% complete and civil work around the processing plant area on-track for com pletion by the end of March. Having already installed most of the mechanical equipment at the front-end of the processing plant, including the large rod and pebble mills, Chinese EPC contractor, Jinpeng Mining and Machinery is targeting completion of the processing plant within six months of the arrival of next shipments from China. . “As it stands, our management team is in dis cussions to speed up the construction process, especially aspects related to the concrete works at the plant and the tailings storage facility. We have already undertaken a few blasts onsite to expose the open pit – this allows us to generate waste rock which is being used for the establishment of the tailings dam. As such, we have uncovered high grade graphite material and subsequently built up a healthy stockpile of about 9 000 t of high-grade graphite,” Cunningham explains. The tailings dam, designed by a South African consultancy company, Prime Resources, has been peer reviewed by SRK Consulting and approved by the Water Board in Tanzania.
A view of the crushing circuit.
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project also offers Walkabout Resources the “opportunity to deliver a project aligned with envi ronmental, social, and governance principles – this is important given that the western world is seeking sustainably sourced graphite out side of China”.
“Once project construction is complete and production is ramped up to name-plate capac ity, we will cast an eye towards expansion opportunities. We have 175 km 2 of graphite ground under our control, and the knowledge and experience to develop another mineable resource quickly and cost-effectively.” Ripe for the picking? With graphite in high demand and prices forecast to continue rising, is the Lindi Jumbo project ripe for the picking? Cunningham confirms that “there is much talk of mergers and consolidations in industry,” and that Walkabout Resources is being courted. “If a venture is presented, it will need to make commercial sense for us to consider it,” he con cludes.
An image of the construction crew.
Uses of graphite Graphite has many industrial uses in lubricants, carbon brushes for electric motors, fire retardants, and steel making, to name a few. It’s use in the lithium-ion batteries industry has been growing at over 20% per year due to the proliferation of cell phones, cameras, laptops, power tools and other hand-held devices. While the automotive industry has traditionally used graphite for brake linings, gaskets and clutch materials, of growing importance is its use in electric vehicle (EV) batteries.
Golden opportunities to reduce climate-related risks By Terry Heymann, CFO at the World Gold Council The world’s ability to maintain economic resilience and support inclusive socio-economic development and environmental stability looks fragile. We have a clearer understanding than ever before of how to achieve these objectives but reaching them still seems elusive. Immediate risks – such as heightened inflation, trade tensions, looming recessionary pres sures and supply chain disruptions – need urgent responses. But they must not distract us from continuing to act on the climate change crisis.
Terry Heymann, CFO at the World Gold Council.
O ur most urgent task is the need to decarbo nise the global economy rapidly. Concurrently, as the physical impacts of a changing climate start to have more widespread and severe consequences, we need to build greater resilience. The problem is especially urgent in countries that have limited resources and capacities. This is a global problem requiring global responses. And if we fail, all the interconnected risks – economic, social, and environmental – will be exacerbated. However, the challenge of decoupling green house gas emissions from economic growth should not be underestimated. It requires us to systemically and structurally change the sources of power that have underpinned the global economy since the dawn of the industrial revolution. The need to change power sources and systems, whilst avoiding economic deprivation, has particu lar relevance for countries across Africa, including South Africa. Laying the groundwork and building new energy infrastructure will require greater col laboration with local governments, stakeholders, and communities. It will also require greater collabo ration across sectors. Addressing these challenges are high priorities for the gold mining sector. Mining
companies are developing and deploying strate gies to reduce climate-related risks in the locations where mines are sited, and in the neighbouring communities and beyond. Accelerating transition to renewable energy is an employability engine Gold Fields, for example, has mines in South Africa and Australia that are embracing renewables. Significantly, the company is committed to growing production while reducing total emissions, making its targeted reductions in the emissions intensity of production even more ambitious. Other gold mining companies are also being similarly ambitious, includ ing IAMGOLD in Burkina Faso, Endeavour in Cote d’Ivoire and Resolute Mining in Senegal. The precious metals mining community in South Africa also played a role in driving government’s removal of regulations, which had stifled domestic renewable energy development. The ability for gold mines to self-generate power on a practical scale from solar plants is helping to create a viable source of skills and infrastructure that will benefit other sec tors. In fact, allowing a local renewable energy sector to flourish invariably leads to job growth – often
Right: Resolute Mining is embracing renewable energy at its projects. Below: Mining companies are developing strategies to reduce climate-related risks.
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high-quality jobs encompassing transferrable skills suitable for the modern economy. We have seen this in several locations across Africa and beyond. In seeking to decarbonise their own operations, many World Gold Council’s mem bers have been first movers in bringing clean energy to countries and locations where it would otherwise not have been present or affordable. This is a trend that will continue to grow. In 2020, Barrick integrated battery technology into the Kibali power grid in the DRC to enhance low carbon electricity provision from the mine’s three hydropower stations. The development of these stations has contributed to greater local power generation capacity, with additional benefits to neighbouring regions. Setting clear industry standards on responsible gold mining While climate risks are the overriding priority for the sector, the gold mining industry is effectively adapt ing to a range of challenges. To achieve its ambition of contributing to wider positive outcomes beyond gold sales and the mine gate, the industry needs to actively meet ESG (environmental, social and gov ernance) demands in line with broader community, investor, and societal expectations. Given the stra tegic role that gold mining plays in the economies of many developing nations, retaining and building the appropriate ‘social license to operate’ is critical to the gold mining sector itself and to the stability of many local economies. In recognition of the climate emergency, as well as the broader socio-economic picture, the World Gold Council and its membership set out, in 2019, to define a bold and comprehensive framework. The resulting Responsible Gold Mining Principles (RGMPs) define clear expectations for what responsible gold mining looks like, and how operators can demonstrate their high standards of performance on a wide range of ESG factors. The RGMPs are mandatory for all World Gold Council members. They are also available – and
recommended – to all gold mining companies. The industry’s recognition of its need to operate in a transparent and trusted manner, and to demon strate high standards of responsible and sustainable business practice, has underpinned its ability to take ambitious steps to ensure it can contribute to social and environmental progress, including decarbonisa tion and local resilience. Accelerating change is within our hands While solid progress has been made, we cannot afford to be complacent. Change is happening, but we need to continue to accelerate and expand gold mining’s transformation, particularly in how it gen erates and consumes power, and how it engages with communities and stakeholders as it strives to adapt to escalating physical risks from an increas ingly volatile climate. However, while there are indisputable success stories, we cannot afford to be complacent and take our foot off the accelerator. Change is happening, and WGC members are working collaboratively on this journey to transform gold mining practices. For the gold mining industry, the scale of the challenge remains large, but the scale of the opportunity is orders of magnitude larger.
Allowing a local renewable energy sector to flourish invariably leads to job growth.
Left and below: Accelerating transition to renewable energy is an employability engine.
March 2023 MODERN MINING 17
OPENCAST MINING, CONTRACTING AND EQUIPMENT
Sandvik’s legacy drill rig takes a step up Building on one of Africa’s most successful rotary drill lines, Sandvik Mining and Rock Solutions has in troduced its Sandvik D25KX rotary drill rig – for the perfect combination of reliability and technology.
A ccording to Nelize Nel, Sandvik Mining and Rock Solutions’ acting business line manager for rotary drills, the D25KX model derives directly from the D25KS, which proved itself over decades as the drilling contractors’ machine of choice. “We have taken our legacy drill rig and improved the ergonomics while maintaining those aspects that customers value most highly,” says Nel. “Retaining the design of the base, frame and mast, we have continued enhancing its safety and have re-envi sioned the cabin.” Rigid lattice-style masts and heavy-duty pulldown chains are part of the package that place Sandvik’s xSeries blasthole drills in a class of their own, she argues. The angle drilling option is one of the many features that drive this performance in a range of applications. The mast can be set from 0° to 30° – in 5° increments. Ergonomic cabin The controls have been upgraded from levers to electro-hydraulic joysticks, and the cabin has been extended. The large operator windows allow greater visibility, and there is space for a trainer or spotter to sit behind the operator in working mode. Enhancing operator comfort, the systems include a seven-inch mobile grade touch screen and PLC control. “This all contributes to delivering the legendary performance of the D25KS with next-level com fort,” she says. “These improvements provide a comfortable operating environment to enhance
operator performance. The added intelligence of the touch screens and digital gauges gives
the operator real-time feedback on machine performance and moni tors machine health.” This continu ous improvement ensures that the Sandvik D25KX responds to the key concern of mines and drilling contrac tors: optimal uptime.
Nelize Nel, commercial manager and acting BLM - rotary drills at Sandvik Mining and Rock Solutions.
In addition to its well-established rugged structure for harsh conditions, the improved access to data on the machine’s condition allows operators to respond quickly and take necessary action. Like its iSeries cousins, the Sandvik xSeries family of drills has the Sandvik Knowledge box installed as stan dard, enabling connectivity through mysandvik.com. This facilitates access to machine reports on equip ment health as well as productivity reporting based on customers’ schedules and targets. Other critical information is conveyed by the elec tronic depth counter in the cabin, and the drilling monitoring system. Strong reputation “A good indication of the outstanding local legacy of the D25KS model, which has served the region’s
The first Sandvik D25KX in SA has been delivered to a customer in the Northern Cape.
mining industry since the 1990s, is that about 20% of the global population of these machines has operated in Southern Africa,” says Nel. “So strong is the reputation of this legacy machine that the first D25KX unit to arrive on our shores recently has already been sold; it will be put to work on an iron ore mine in the Northern Cape.” “The rugged design equips these units for an even longer life, including rebuild interventions that can renew their life span,” she explains. “This provides a cost-effective option that can be conducted after 25 000 hours of operation, for instance, paving the way for it to achieve many more productive hours.” Ease of maintenance Nel highlights that the new Sandvik D25KX model also follows in the tradition
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