Menar expects first ore from inaugural manganese mine in July

20th May 2021

By: Marleny Arnoldi

Creamer Media Contributing Editor Online


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Mining investment firm Menar has officially launched its first-to-portfolio manganese mine, East Manganese, in Hotazel, in the Northern Cape.

MD Vuslat Bayoğlu expects the mine to produce its first ore in July and to ramp up to nameplate capacity of processing 30 000 t a month of ore by August.

The 900 000 t reserve will be mined over a two-year mine life, as a starting point for the company to build expertise in the manganese mining space.

The mine comprises a single, 14 ha openpit operation, which is located on a 43 ha portion of the bigger 1 000 ha mining right area.

The R250-million project will produce mostly lumpy manganese and some fine material for export to the Chinese market.

A dry crushing and screening plant will be commissioned over the next few weeks on site, which will greatly contribute to ensuring the mine’s water use efficiency.

Bayoğlu says Menar also has markets for manganese in India and Europe, but most of the product goes to China owing to its significant steel production activity.

He adds that demand for manganese is strong at the moment, despite the price not necessarily being that high.

In terms of export logistics, Bayoğlu confirms that State-owned freight utility Transnet is struggling with some rail capacity challenges at the moment, but Menar nonetheless applied for a Manganese Export Capacity Allocation 2 (Meca 2) allocation.

Under Meca 2, 15% of Transnet’s manganese rail capacity is allocated to new entrants in the manganese export market.

“We are aiming to truck the product to a neighbouring mine site and rail from there, but while we await Transnet’s approval of our application, we will truck product to the port.”

With the mine producing 30 000 t of manganese a month, the company is considering building a small-scale power plant, coupled with grid power and back-up generators, to meet the mine’s 1 MW power capacity requirement.

Bayoğlu concludes that the company’s decision to diversify the Menar group’s commodity portfolio is in keeping with the firm aspirations of becoming a leading South African diversified mining company.

The company is looking to invest in more manganese assets and discussions are underway for assets in this regard, which the company will share in due course.

Menar is an active private mining investment company with interests in thermal coal, anthracite and manganese assets in South Africa, a nickel/cobalt asset in Turkey and a gold asset in Ala-Buka in Kyrgyzstan. 

Edited by Chanel de Bruyn
Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor Online


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