Kalagadi Manganese launches Northern Cape sinter plant

6th December 2012

By: Megan van Wyngaardt

Creamer Media Contributing Editor Online


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HOTAZEL ( – South Africa’s first manganese mine to be owned by a black woman, Kalagadi Manganese, officially opened its sinter plant near Hotazel, in the Northern Cape, on Thursday.

With the launch of the 2.4-million-ton-a-year sinter plant – said to be the world’s largest – Kalagadi owner Daphne Mashile-Nkosi hopes to prove doubting Thomases wrong.

Hosting a media visit ahead of the official launch, she pointed out that the commissioning of the R11-billion integrated project, which not only includes the underground mine and sintering plant, but also a planned, yet-to-be-contracted, ferromanganese smelter in the Eastern Cape, was now one step closer.

The plan is for the three-million tons of ore a year from the mine to serve as feedstock for the production of 2.4-million tons a year of sinter, of which 1.7-million tons a year would be marketed and 700 000 t/y smelted into high-carbon ferromanganese at the proposed smelter at the Coega Industrial Development Zone at the deep-water Ngqura port.

The sintering process consists of mixing, agglomeration and semismelting of manganese ore, fine coke, fluxes and recycled dust into sintered product. A circular cooling process and recovery of waste gases forms part of the closed loop system. The sintered and cooled product is reduced to required sizes and shipped to the smelter and other overseas export markets, while the grain is recycled back into the system.

The plant, which has incorporated green technology, was designed and implemented by German contractor Outotec.

Kalagadi Manganese head of projects George Maluleke explained that the sinter plant had been designed to reduce emissions to the lowest levels and complied with the 2013 emission targets set by the regulatory bodies in South Africa. The dust extraction systems in the design and the recovery and recycling of dust into the main sintering process ensure that minimal emissions occur during the sintering process.

“All stockpiles before and after the sintering plant are enclosed to ensure containment of process-generated manganese dust. The sintered manganese product would generate improved dollar revenues for each ton of manganese ore mined, bringing the grade up from about 36% to 47%.”


Meanwhile, Mashile-Nkosi pointed out that the mine, though not fully operational yet, had already begun to make an impact on the South African economy, as well as the communities in which it operated.

She highlighted the importance of critical infrastructure, which included a 132 kVA power line and substations, as well as a 21 km water supply pipeline system to support the operations of the mine and sinter plant.

“The substation, which would be handed over by February, forms part of an agreement with parastatal Eskom. The station would not only feed Kalagadi Manganese, but also the community and surrounding mines.”

She added that copper theft was a problem in the province, particularly since Kalagadi had built its own 132 kVA substation. “The company had to sharpen up security to prevent this theft, but we are not the only mine that has been targeted by armed copper thieves.”

Commenting on housing in the area, Mashile-Nkosi said that Kalagadi had completed a preafeasibility study through JSE-listed construction firm Group Five on accommodation for mine employees. “We want to create more opportunities for people to buy homes, or rent homes.”

“Clearly, with the new projects that are coming on-stream in the Hotazel area, we see a lot of people coming here with their families. We started discussing, as industry, ways to grow the town in terms of infrastructure and facilities. If you start bringing in families, you would need to build schools, which, in turn, would need electricity and recreational facilities,” she said.

Mashile-Nkosi said that Kalagadi believed that it had “more than 300-years” life-of-mine reserves in the area.

The company has had eight-million man-hours, without incident, even throughout the blasting phase. “Women give life, not end it,” Mashile-Nkosi quipped.

Edited by Mariaan Webb
Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor Online


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