Africa’s only woman-owned phosphate mine at advanced stage of development

Africa’s only woman-owned phosphate mine at advanced stage of development
Africa’s only woman-owned phosphate mine at advanced stage of development

Adelaide Ruiters Mining and Exploration (ARME) CEO and founder Adelaide Ruiters discusses Africa’s only woman-owned phosphate mine with Creamer Media at Mining Indaba. Video: Creamer Media's Nicholas Boyd. Editing: Creamer Media's Shadwyn Dickinson.

7th February 2023

By: Simone Liedtke

Creamer Media Social Media Editor & Senior Writer


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The world’s only woman-owned phosphate mine, the Zandheuvel phosphate mine in South Africa’s Saldanha Bay, is at a very advanced stage of completing its bankable feasibility study (BFS), with the technical chapters having been completed.

Owned by Adelaide Ruiters Mining and Exploration (ARME), CEO and founder Adelaide Ruiters is hopeful that the project, and the company’s attendance at this year’s Investing in African Mining Indaba, will bolster and encourage international and national awareness of the new phosphate mine.

ARME, a 51% black-woman owned junior phosphate miner, is funded by the Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) and The Anglo Sefa Mining Fund. The company is focusing on the development of its flagship Zandheuvel sedimentary organic phosphate mine and beneficiation plant project, which will produce 28.8% phosphorus pentoxide organic phosphate concentrate suitable for both chemical and organic agriculture and is a soil enhancer for degraded soils.

With the technical chapters of the BFS completed, the company has conducted successful agriculture trials for soybeans wheat and maize. They are still ongoing, Ruiters says, explaining that the projects substitute the traditional chemical, such as diesel, used for phosphate beneficiation with a canola oil by-product.

This, she notes, renders the phosphate product Zandphos organic, and makes it more sustainable with a reduced carbon footprint.

Ruiters further comments that the difficult global economic conditions – such as food and fertilizer shortages – have highlighted the importance of food security and the need for farmers to have access to locally produced good quality phosphate resources, which has had a positive impact on ARME and its projects.

As such, Ruiters is hopeful that ARME will “play a very positive and pivotal role in assisting the African continent to secure its food, and to be less dependent on phosphate imports”.

Currently, South Africa is importing about 70% of the phosphates being used in the country.

Edited by David Shepherd
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