The empowerment company, Nozalela Mineral Sands, was established in March when Tisand, the firm that conducts RBM’s mining operations, signed a deal worth R75-million with the Ingonyama Trust and the Dube and Mkwanazi tribal authorities.
The agreement gave the trust, which governs the land on which the deposit is located, and the authorities, which represent the communities living in the lease area, a 5% share in Nozalela.
After the deal was signed, Nozalela took over development of the Zulti South resource, where Tisand had previously been excavating a thousand tons of heavy mineral concentrate (HMC) a month.
The company has since been advancing mining operations, which will ultimately be extended to include a combination of dredger and dry-mining methods.
It is expected that full production will be reached between 2008 and 2010.
It is also envisaged that the resource will supply RBM with about 500 000 t/y of HMC for between 25 and 30 years.
The agreement whereby Nozalela was created also stipulates that the Ingonyama Trust and the Dube and Mkwanazi tribal authorities have the option to buy a further 10% in the company at market value once the Zulti South project reaches its full production level of 500 000 t/y of HMC.
This puts Nozalela within reach of the 15%-within-five-years black ownership target of the Mining Charter, which came into effect on May 1.
According to RBM MD George Deyzel, the aim of the agreement between Tisand and the community is to advance broad-based economic empowerment.
A management committee, comprising three members of the Dube and Mkwanazi tribal authorities, as well as three members of Tisand, is involved with the day-to-day running of the company, its mining activities and worker and social-development programmes.