East Manganese a stepping stone for Sitatunga
As part of WhyAfrica’s recent road trip to the Northern Cape Province of South Africa we visited Sitatunga Resources’ East Manganese mine, close to the town of Hotazel.
By Leon Louw owner and editor of WhyAfrica
Sitatunga, a subsidiary of investment company Menar, is one of several new entrants in the Manganese Fields of the Kalahari. According to the company, its East Manganese mine is a stepping stone for the company to become a bigger player in the manganese sector.
East Manganese was launched during hard Covid-19 lockdowns and Sitatunga started opening the box cut in September 2020. Mpumelelo Mkhabela, chairman of Menar, was there to welcome WhyAfrica and told us more about how to get a new mine up and running during a global pandemic.
Menar purchased East Manganese from Southern Ambition in September 2018 and it was granted environmental authorisation in February 2019, followed by the mining right in August 2019. The last in a series of regulatory approvals was the water use licence, which was granted in September 2020, and led to the start of mining operations.
During the second week of July, Sitatunga Resources started grading the entrance road. The box cut was opened on 4 September 2020.
“We had consultations with the local municipality and other community stakeholders regarding our social and labour plan and to ensure that the mining activities benefits local communities. Subsequently, all mine infrastructure was established, including the 350 t per hour dry crushing and screening plant, which was commissioned in September 2021. Sitatunga has established a grade-control section on the mine and employed a grade control geologist, along with a supporting team, and established a fully equipped on-site laboratory to oversee the blending process,” says Mkhabela.
East Manganese is the only mine that was launched in South Africa amid the Covid-19 pandemic, and mining started in September 2020.
Leon Louw is the founder and editor of WhyAfrica. He specialises in natural resources and African affairs.
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