JOHANNESBURG (miningweekly.com) – South Africa remains the leading manganese supplier to the seaborne market, accounting for more than 35% of global production, excluding China, Jupiter Mines chairperson Brian Gilbertson noted in the company’s annual report on Thursday.
Australia-listed Jupiter Mines owns 49.9% of Tshipi é Ntle, which operates the Tshipi Borwa manganese mine in South Africa’s Northern Cape, and has the Central Yilgarn iron project in Australia.
Gilbertson attributed the increase in demand over the year, which resulted in increased manganese imports into China, to changes in Chinese environmental restrictions.
Jupiter CEO Priyank Thapliyal stated in an accompanying release that the Tshipi board had resolved to pay out R1.15-billion to its shareholders at the end of June and expected to make another healthy distribution in November, in line with double-digit yields and exceeding the company’s pay out policy.
He reported that Tshipi production was on track to deliver its three-million-tonne sales target, with costs this year averaging R31.04/dry metric tonne unit.
Tshipi, an opencast manganese mine with an integrated ore processing plant in the world’s largest manganese bearing geological formation, is said by Jupiter to be the largest manganese mine in South Africa and one of the five largest globally, with a long–life resource and low operating costs.
During the year, Tshipi Borwa exported 3 511 461 t of material from a rail load-out facility that can ultimately accommodate five-million tonnes a year and expansion plans are currently being evaluated.
With continued strong cash generation, Tshipi declared and paid dividends of R3.215-billion for the 2019 financial year. Whilst Tshipi was served a Section 54 notice in August 2018, it was testament to the management team that it was lifted within a few days. Tshipi continues to reassess where necessary any developments to their processes and operations. This also extends to the improvement of the lost time injury rate which increased during the year.
Tshipi runs independently of the national electricity grid. The generator plant consists of six diesel driven generators designed to operate in synchronisation with each other. Tshipi is in the process of connecting to the national grid with a new substation to be built. The generator plant will then be used for back-up power. Connection to the national grid would decrease operating costs and limit the use of diesel, Gilbertson noted.