Manganese BEE deal for N Cape

21 December 2007

Samancor Manganese has unveiled an empowerment deal with Ntsimbintle Mining which will see the creation of a new mining company, Hotazel Manganese Mines, and see increased participation in the economy by communities in the Northern Cape province.

The deal relates to two mines near the town of Hotazel – Wessels and Mamatwan – that are wholly owned by Samancor, which is in turn owned 60% by BHP Billiton and 40% by Anglo American.

According to a statement issued by BHP Billiton last week, Ntsimbintle will vend in portions of its prospecting rights contiguous to Samancor’s Mamatwan and Wessels mines in exchange for a 9% interest in a new company, Hotazel Manganese Mines, which has been created to effect the transaction.

BHP Billiton’s president for manganese, Peter Beaven, said the Hotazel manganese mines were among the best in the world, and are set on a strong growth path with strongly enhanced mine lives as a result of the transaction, which was just the start in the company’s strategy to transfer 26% of Hotazel Mines to BEE partners.

“The transaction provides Ntsimbintle immediate ownership of strongly profitable assets and their associated cash flow whilst Samancor gains access to further resources and reserves, some of which can be immediately accessed from existing Samancor mine operations,” Beaven said. “This is undoubtedly the most sensible commercial arrangement for the development of the two sets of rights.”

Ntsimbintle is a broad-based consortium made up of Safika Resources, Nkonjane, Wiphold, Northern Cape Women in Mining, the Kgalagadi Development Trust, the Natural Resources Empowerment Fund, the Retrenched Workers Association, the Hotazel Women’s Association and the Northern Cape Community Business Men.

“We welcome this partnership with Samancor, which is the leading manganese producer in the world,” said Ntsimbintle’s Saki Macozoma. “This is a mutually beneficial relationship which will hopefully ultimately see South Africa play a bigger role in the world manganese market.”

Sabelo Macingwane, also of Ntsimbintle, added that Northern Cape communities who are shareholders in Ntsimbintle would enjoy meaningful participation in the local economy through Hotazel Mines.

“This transaction will facilitate the advancement of black economic empowerment in the Northern Cape,” BHP Billiton SA chairman Vincent Maphai said. “BHP Billiton is committed to the transformation and growth of the South African economy and we believe that transactions such as this, which include ownership, will enable us to contribute to that transformation.”

BHP Billiton added that the transaction was subject to the approval of the Department of Minerals and Energy for the transfer of Ntsimbintle’s prospecting rights and Samancor’s mining and prospecting rights to Hotazel Mines.

SAinfo reporter

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