Development financier, the Eastern Cape Development Corporation (ECDC) says it has spent some R736 000 prepping up for operations a R200 million quarry aggregate mine in Indwe some 120 kilometres outside Queenstown in the Eastern Cape.
“ECDC is very pleased with this mining investment and considering it has a lifespan of 30 years, it is ripe for private and public sector investment opportunities as well as additional off-take agreements. For its part ECDC committed R736,000 in the preparation stages toward conducting geo-tech surveys, drilling and laboratory testing, environmental impact assessments and authorisation, mining works programme development, site layout plan, business planning and financial modelling as well as market off-take negotiations.
“This operation presents exciting investment opportunities as it still requires some R200 million to fully equip it. Currently, the mine which sits on some 1,000 hectares (ha) of land, has hired a plant worth about R150 million to commence operations which includes machinery, earth-moving vehicles to commence operations,” says Jiya.
ECDC chief executive officer Buhle Dlulane says the mine has secured two off-take agreements and it is already negotiating a supply contract with a local municipality for 1,500 RDP houses and several companies in road construction.
“Subsequent off-take agreements and contracts will be financed through ECDC. The plan is to gradually expand operations and supply capacity beyond the 200ha the mine currently occupies and to use the available land for additional production capacity.
“ECDC is also pleased with the initial approach by Blue Crane Resources and Minerals directors Sydney Stina and Mcebisi Limba who found the Indwe site and identified it as carrying aggregate quarry. Although located on a private farm owned by Willem Stapelberg, the Blue Crane Resources and Minerals with the help of ECDC has successfully negotiated a partnership agreement with the farm owner,” Dlulane says.
Limba says Blue Crane Mine’s primary focus is on supplying standard concrete stone products, crusher sand, specialised road stone and base course products, non-standard rock and crush products. In addition, Blue Crane is investigating other products such as sand (building, river and plaster sand), ready-mix concrete, sabhunga, as well as bricks and blocks.
“With the business and quarry operations accessible enroute the R63 road between Indwe and Dordrecht, the location is in close proximity to various government infrastructural developments in the former Transkei. As a result, Blue Crane Mine has already secured an in principle agreement with the company that has been appointed by the South African National Roads Agency (SANRAL) to build the road between Elliot and Barkly East and another road from Indwe to Ugie and Maclear aggregates running into tens of millions of rands.
“In addition, the enterprise is also soliciting opportunities from the new 17km road construction from Indwe to Elitheni Coal Mine in Guba Village which require aggregates estimated at more than R30 million, as well as an approved low-cost housing development for 1, 500 units for Guba Village with potential aggregates amounting to above R27 million,” Limba adds.
The company currently employs 40 people sourced from the local community and intends to increase the number once the off-take agreements that are under negotiations have been signed.
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