SA expertise for new UK gold mine

23 January 2012

A new gold mine set to open in the United Kingdom will be processing its ore using South African technology and expertise – an indication of how SA’s economy could benefit from new mining operations internationally, reports the Mail & Guardian.

The newspaper reported on Friday that Australian-owned Scotgold Resources had secured environmental approval to start operations at the new Cononish gold mine in midwestern Scotland in 2013 – and had ordered a turnkey ore-processing plant from South African engineering firm Consulmet Metals.

The Johannesburg firm would “design the plant, have it built locally, partially disassemble it before shipment, and commission it at the mine near Loch Lomond in Scotland,” the Mail & Guardian reported.

“It may be a small deal in the world of mining, but the $10-million gold extraction plant … casts the spotlight on South Africa’s readiness to capitalise on local mining expertise.

“Extensive mining opportunities opening up in Africa have deepened the experience of local engineering houses such as Consulmet Metals in building ready-to-use processing plants in hostile terrain.

“This, and an emotional preference to do business with fellow Africans, ensures that South Africa will benefit from the African mining boom in particular.”

An additional incentive for foreign firms to make use of South African expertise, the Mail & Guardian points out, comes from South Africa’s state-owned Export Credit Insurance Corporation, which provides guarantees to banks to finance orders for South African capital equipment.

Consulmet Metals CEO Rupert Swanepoel told the newspaper that the Scotgold project was the first – but certainly not the last – in which it would be using the Export Credit Insurance Corporation to “sweeten” its offering to its foreign clients.

SAinfo reporter