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Management, NUM agree to end manganese strike

Mine management and the local leadership of the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) have reportedly jointly agreed to end the unprotected strike at the BHP Billiton-managed Hotazel manganese operations in the Northern Cape.

BHP Billiton South Africa communications manager Patrick Wadula said in a media statement sent to Creamer Media’s Mining Weekly Online that the agreement meant that all employees were due to have reported for duty by today, Wednesday, April 8.

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Wadula stated that management of the Hotazel manganese operations and NUM expected the mines to be fully operational from the morning shift and that both parties had agreed to engage further on the issues under discussion. Mineworkers, who began the strike on March 27, were urged to return to work last week in compliance with a court order, which had declared the stayaway illegal and unprotected.

The stayaway followed prolonged engagement over claims arising from an employee share ownership scheme (Esop), which led to a one-off financial settlement to resolve the matter and the payout of three dividends to date, with a fourth due this month, under a new Esop. BHP Billiton, which is planning to demerge the Hotazel manganese mines into the new South32 spin-off company on which shareholders are scheduled to vote next month, committed itself to open engagement with NUM to ensure continuity of production following rulings in its favour by the statutory Council for Conciliation Mediation and Arbitration and the courts.

The manganese business that has been earmarked to become part of South32 includes the Hotazel mines and Gemco in Australia, and smelters at Temco in Australia and Metalloys in South Africa. With those assets, South32 would be one of the largest low-cost producers of manganese ore and a global producer of manganese alloy. The aim is for South32 to become a 12-asset, five-country, 24 000-employee group and locate a service centre in South Africa similar to the one in Australia that delivers services to the 41-asset, 13-country and 50 000-employee BHP Billiton group on six continents.

Source: Engineering News


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Shumba partners SA firm to develop power plant

Shumba Coal has partnered with a South African firm, Mulilo Renewable Project Developments, for the joint development of the Mabesekwa Export Independent Power Plant (MEIPP), which will export power to the neighbouring country.

The MEIPP is a 300 MegaWatt (MW) energy capacity project with a minimum 260 MW net supply to grid after auxiliary and mine consumption.  The project will entail building a coal-fired power plant with a captive coal mine, to take part in the South African Coal Base Load Independent Power Producers (IPP) programme. Last year, South Africa asked IPPs to submit proposals to build coal-fired plants as part of a string of initiatives aimed at ending chronic electricity shortages in that country.

In a statement released on Friday, the two companies noted that within a two month-period following the signing of the Heads of Agreement (HOA), they would enter into a comprehensive Joint Development Agreement (JDA), which shall include detailed conditions of the partnership.

“During this period, the parties will only negotiate exclusively with each other. Additional developments will be forthcoming and shareholders will be kept appraised accordingly,” reads the statement.

Shumba Coal Chairman, Alan Clegg said the agreement is a further development in Shumba energy development strategies. “The signing of this HOA with Mulilo is a further landmark development in Shumba execution of our stated strategy and a further testimony to the discipline of management in matching our assets and projects with the best partners under stressed market conditions,” he said. “Mulilo has a first class track record of delivery which, matches Shumba culture and this I believe will now translate into the creation of a new and strong economic contribution to the Southern African energy market for sustainable development, while creating strong value for our shareholders and all stakeholders alike,” said Clegg.

Mulilo is an IPP developer and investor which was originally formed in 2008 and has developed over the last few years a portfolio of 400 MW of grid-connected power plants under various IPP programmes run by the Department of Energy in South Africa.Shumba Coal intends to develop one or more 300MW or larger power stations in addition to producing coal for domestic and regional consumption. Recently Shumba coal entered into a binding sale and purchase agreement with Daheng Group Botswana for the acquisition of Mabesekwa Prospecting license near Francistown. This was part of its strategy of investing in Botswana based energy projects to supply affordable energy domestically and into the region. Among Shumba Coal energy projects includes 300MW Sechaba energy project near Morupule.  Currently Shumba is in the process of the renewing another prospecting license number that will be finalised by the Botswana Ministry of Minerals, Energy and Water Resources.

Source: Mmegi Online


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