Johannesburg, 17 September 2019 - Black owned and woman led, Kalagadi Manganese (Pty) Ltd and Transnet Ltd have cemented a partnership which will allow for the transportation of up to 3-million tonnes per annum of beneficiated manganese in form of sinter which will be in excess of R3-billion for Transnet.
The Manganese Export Capacity Allocation Agreement (MECA 2) contract will see the transportation, storage, and loading onto a vessel of the Kalagadi Manganese production destined for the export market.
The 5 years contract will further allow Kalagadi Manganese an allocation of both rail and port capacity through the different manganese export channels for the international markets.
Kalagadi Manganese has participated in the MECA programme since inception, mainly through providing forecasts to Transnet for capacity determination purposes.
Founder and Chairperson, Daphne Mashile-Nkosi said she is pleased that after 12 years of engagement, Kalagadi has finally reached agreement with the state-owned entity.
“This contract, which as part of the MECA2 project, will offer us an opportunity to move 3 million tonnes product from the Kalagadi Mine and Sinter Plant in the Northern Cape through to Eastern Cape Province Ports.
This partnership supports a job creation of over 1250 direct opportunities through various parts of our value and these will make a contribution of R6.2 Billion annually to the country’s GDP
She said, the partnership with Transnet speaks directly to Kalagadi goals of providing a guaranteed and trusted environment for Kalagadi’s exports, which are secured from global and domestic economic uncertainties.
“As an entity, we want to be an active contributor to the country’s mission of retaining the position of being the leading exporter of high-grade beneficiated manganese. And this contract gives us the opportunity to make that dream a reality,” said Mashile-Nkosi.
Since the inception of the MECA2 programme in 2015, Transnet has witnessed an increase of manganese export volumes from 5 million tons per annum to the current 15.1 million tons per annum.
To date, Transnet has concluded ten MECA2 contracts with local manganese producers.
Transnet Chief Customer Officer Mike Fanucchi said: “This is an indication that Transnet is serious about the integration of its operations to suit the customers’ needs. When we commenced with the MECA process, and the integration of our service offering, we only had two manganese companies playing in the export manganese markets. We are excited to see this number increasing.” Transnet together with key manganese producers have set aside 15% percent of the overall manganese export line capacity for the new entrants in the manganese export market
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I, Monna Letlapa work at Kalagadi Manganese as a rock blaster?? I started my job in October 2017. I stay in the mine residence where I share the complex with XX men and XX women. We regularly meet at the canteen as we get provided with meals 3 times a day.
My day starts with a shower and breakfast, after which I catch the bus to the shaft. I arrive at around 5h45 at the shaft to start my 6h00 shift underground at which time I have gone through the lamps room to get my equipment and PPE.
The experiences I have encountered with my colleagues underground have enabled us to be a close knit family as we need to look out for each other. Being underground come with its challenges that range from safety, health and fatigue. We accept that working underground is a risky job but in Kalagadi, we have been shown that safety is taken seriously hence we give our all when doing our work.
The supervision we get from the management we work under is such that we learn to navigate the underground terrain during the blasts and understand the quality of the ore from the faces we blast. It prides me to know that the product we blast and take to surface is processed to fine small particles through the Ore Preparation and the sinter plants. My colleagues working at the processing plants tell us that the Ore is enhanced to be of a higher grade resulting in the company selling the ore of +/- 44Mn.
On the days I work day shift, I come out from underground at 16h00 having started work at 6h00. I would have been served lunch during the day and go out looking to have a good shower and supper. I spend my past time after work listening to music and hanging out with my colleagues. My day ends with me going to bed at 19h30.
Kalagadi Manganese mine is constituted out of three contiguous farms, namely, Umtu 281, Olive Pan 282 and Gama 283, making a total area of approximately 6 300 ha. The mine is an underground mechanised trackless board and pillar mine.
The 9th of March 2019 marked a one year milestone for our first manganese ore blast in our underground mine. This was achieved two (2) months earlier than scheduled. The cornerstone of our operations is safety and zero harm. Since the start of the project in 2010, we proudly recorded zero fatalities over nine (9) fatality free years, giving us 20 730 436 fatality free man hours and 2 591 304 fatality free shifts, a remarkable achievement for our operations. The recognition of Kalagadi’s safety record as the “Best Overall Underground mine” and “The best improved LTI rate” by the Department of Mineral Resources in 2016, is testimony of the commitment of the company to its employees’ wellbeing over the years. Our lost time injury frequency rate over the last five (5) years in particular was 0.11, whilst also taking into account that we achieved a rate of zero (0.00) for two consecutive years, 2015/2016 & 2016/2017. In August 2018, the company achieved another milestone, being awarded “The 7000 fatal free production shifts”, which the DMR awards for every 1000 fatality free shifts.
In November 2018 we achieved yet another milestone, when DMR awarded the company the ”Best Overall Underground mine” and the “Best improved LTI rate over 12 months” in the Northern Cape. In the same period, as a show of our commitment to protecting the Health & Safety of our employees, all operations were stopped for two full shifts to allow our employees to listen to among others, the Principle Inspector of the Northern Cape as a key-note speaker, sensitising all employees on the importance of protecting their Health & Safety and the environment in which we operate.
The financial year 2018/2019 saw the mine achieving 245 lost time free days with underground operations in full swing, drilling, blasting, loading and hauling, a momentous occasion for the mine. The LTIFR (Lost time incident frequency rate) benchmark is set at 0.6 and Kalagadi has been constantly below this target for the past five (5) years with an average of 0.11. In comparison to our neighbouring competitors, we are also below their collective rate which is 0.26. These underground mines have been in business for many years with most of them having an average staff compliment of +/- 2000 employees but we outshine them with regards to protecting the Health & Safety of our employees.
Much as we are a growing mine in all aspects, we have a management team with over 300 collective years of wealth of experience. We can safely say we are doing the right thing and should not stand back for anyone as we strive to uphold the prime objective of “protection of our shareholder” by protecting the Health & Safety of our employees and protecting the environment.
For quality assurance, we strive to make use of industry leaders, to ensure sustainability, hence our through legal compliance audits we are able to determine the extent of our compliance with relevant laws and regulations. The evaluation process of checking the company's performance against legal standards and identifying areas where adherence is required, needs to be stricter.
Kalagadi Manganese Mine achieved these excellent safety records and safe production, through employing Blue Chip companies for design, construction, operations and maintenance. Kalagadi Manganese Mine, through engagement with industry leaders are satisfied with the Suitability of the five (5) strategic Pillars of the company. .
With the sinking of the twin shaft systems (Main and Ventilation shaft) completed in 2009, underground developments immediately commenced. This was followed by the construction and equipping of underground infrastructure.
All this signified the existence and entry of a serious manganese mining contender into the playing field, Kalagadi Manganese. The start of the civil construction of the Ore Preparation Plant in October 2012 was another step in the actualization of our strategic intent in beneficiating the manganese ore. It was then followed by the construction of the Sinter plant which was completed in December 2016.
In 2014, the company concluded a mining contract with Murray and Roberts, Cementation (MRC). All conditions precedent in accordance to the agreement with the MRC were fulfilled in December 2017, enabling the EPCM to start mobilizing in January 2018. The first official blast for production (post sinking & development) was initiated on the 9th March 2018.
With production in full blown stage, our focus on safety, health and environment remains more heightened at the mine, as a result we continue to urge our colleagues at the mine to be extra precautious towards their own safety and that of others, who may be affected by their work. The Zero Harm strategic policy position we have adopted has yielded results as we continuously get industry recognition for being the safest mine in the Northern Cape.
Kalagadi Manganese closed-off the first year of operations developing over 3KM using mechanised drill and blast methods from Thembeka Myedi Shaft. This development is aimed to housing critical infrastructure including: Crusher & Conveyor networks and ventilation districts. We have also performed at 111% of the baselined scope during project planning.
The shaft connects to the Ore Processing Plant (OPP), preparing feed for the Sinter Plant. Commissioning of the OPP began in August 2018, lagging four months from the mining start-up, a strategy implemented to maintain a steady feed to the processing plants. The OPP has since ramped-up from a single shift, to a three-shift configuration, processing over 430 000 tonnes at the end of the first year. Sinter Plant’s performance exceeded expectations as it had been previously commissioned. The first shipment of Kalagadi Manganese Complex has also been delivered to its customers, within specification by the end of the first production year.
Our people” remain critical to our success as an operation, and hence Kalagadi maintains an operational collaborated culture of mutual respect, care and accountability. “Our people” is a representative term of all our stakeholders including: Our Employees, Suppliers, Regulators and Shareholders. Kalagadi has had a positive impact in its host community, employing its members in an inclusive manner across different age-groups, ethnic, and gender.
Quality for Kalagadi Manganese is a journey, it requires to be initiated and maintained to the end of the project cycle.
We endeavour to provide a quality product from beginning to the end of the project cycle. As General Manager, I constantly engage the leadership and execution teams in order to maintain best practice and to innovate around our unique circumstances and challenges. The underground operation is to focus on mining discipline whilst the Processing Plants’ focus will be proactive maintenance, preventing spillage and carry-back along the plant and housekeeping.
Our strategy is to focus on preventive techniques including: training, equipping, maintenance and time allocated to do things right, supported by appraisals like: inspections, testing & calibration, and audits to eliminate failure cost related to non-conformance. Great effort has been demonstrated by the mining and ore processing team on waste and reef separation, necessary to ensure that maximum value can be derived from the project phase.
Cost management is of utmost importance in Kalagadi Manganese. Policies and processes in place have yielded great benefit for the business and Kalagadi continues to operate below its cost baseline. Initiatives like Activity-Based-Costing are gaining traction to ensure that our costs are predictable and measured. Managing spend and cost remain at the top of our agenda, and conversations transitioning beyond direct cost to also monitoring and controlling indirect cost, driven by efficiencies.
With a relatively broad-based global view of Kalagadi Manganese Mine Complex, our expectation is to continue with growth going in to the next quarter. We continue to understand our asset better, through managing data and knowledge, allowing us to make improvements in our planning assumptions across the business. Our key focus areas remain in delivering on our strategy, harnessing opportunity and using innovative ideas to elevate constraints.
The first year of operations has presented the teams with lessons learned, necessary to leverage for the coming year. Cost, Quality and Schedule remain the triple constraints of this project. All efforts remain in the monitoring and control area, effectively engaging our EPCM contractor executing the project scope in managing and elevating these constraints. Although the project produced 11% ahead of its baselines schedule, below its cost baseline, reflection from the team demonstrates that opportunities are available to perform better than the closing performance of the first year, with better planning, effective monitoring and control.
As we develop more knowledge about the asset, and update our base assumptions, there is plenty of room for improvement. Optimising the processing plants through test work, currently in progress, using our own material to produce durable sinter and undertaking scheduled maintenance expeditiously will yield positive results that build confidence in the market and affirm our positioning. The mine operations present opportunity to increase the efficiencies of our physical resources, boosting the moral of our teams necessary to yield safe performance ahead of schedule, below our cost baseline at the right quality. Managing project knowledge remains critical for us, in the current artificial intelligent (AI) era we operate in, to better understand our business, allowing us to be agile, and able to respond to enterprise environmental factors outside our control.
Analysis of data presents our teams opportunity to use innovative ideas to elevate constraints. Initiatives making progress including:
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