Remining existing iron stockpiles a viable option at Thabazimbi Mine

An announcement was recently made that ArcelorMittal South Africa will undertake a full feasibility study to determine what options are open to the steelmaker, with a particular focus on re-mining the existing iron ore stockpiles.

(Refer related articles below – Kwêvoël has been reporting on this issue since 2013)

This was made during a meeting to update stakeholders about progress on the agreement that was signed late in 2016 between Kumba and ArcelorMittal South Africa, to transfer Thabazimbi mine into ArcelorMittal South Africa’s portfolio.

A team from delegation ArcelorMittal South Africa and Kumba Iron Ore (Kumba) visited Thabazimbi mine and local communities from 15 to 16 January 2018.

The was led by ArcelorMittal’s CEO, Wim De Klerk and General Manager: Procurement and Logistics, Willem Nel as well as Glen Mc Gavigan, Kumba’s Executive Head for Technical & Projects, when they met with the mine employees, Thabazimbi Local Municipality, the local business community, government departments, nonprofit and community-based organisations as well as the local community.

The main objective of the engagements was to introduce ArcelorMittal South Africa as the potential new owners of Thabazimbi mine. They reassured all stakeholders that once Section 11 has been approved ArcelorMittal South Africa will act in the best interests of all the stakeholders involved.

Some of the issues discussed were:
The impact of the transfer on employees, contractors and suppliers; The local economic landscape and future job opportunities, as well as the continued support of existing community projects and potential investment in the future.

“We were encouraged by the open and honest feedback we received from stakeholders,” said Willem Nel, ArcelorMittal South Africa General Manager. “We have taken note of these concerns and we will consolidate this feedback into an action list which will be incorporated into our stakeholder engagement plan.

Glen Mc Gavigan, Kumba’s Executive, reiterated that “Kumba Iron Ore and Arcelor Mittal are committed to ensure the transition process is managed in the best interest of the employees and the Thabazimbi community in consultation with all stakeholders”.

ArcelorMittal South Africa submitted a Section 11 application to the Department of Mineral Resources (DMR) in December 2016.

The agreement cannot be implemented without the approval of the Section 11.

Once the application is approved, Thabazimbi mine’s mining right will be transferred to ArcelorMittal South Africa, who will take full responsibility for the environmental rehabilitation and decommissioning of Thabazimbi mine.

ArcelorMittal South Africa has reassured the current employees at Thabazimbi mine that the transfer will not have any impact on their terms and conditions of employment.

ArcelorMittal South Africa and Kumba management have committed to quarterly engagements with stakeholders to provide continuous updates on progress.

The first followup engagement session is scheduled for April 2018.

A summary of outcomes from this engagement will be shared with all stakeholders by end of January 2018.