Ivanhoe transfers 26% of S. African project to locals

Friday, 5 September, 2014

We picked up the following short piece by Cecilia Jamasmie on Mining.Com that bears testament to a rather bold approach to community empowerment.  

Ivanhoe transfers 26% of S. Africa’s platinum project to locals

Cecilia Jamasmie | September 4, 2014

Africa-focused Ivanhoe Mines (TSX:IVN) said Thursday it has completed an empowerment deal on its Platreef project in South Africa, which leaves 26% of the venture in hands of local communities.

The Canadian miner said it has transferred 20% to 20 local groups, 3% to black entrepreneurs and managerial employees, and another 3% to historically disadvantaged South African staff.

The Vancouver-based company is planning a multi-phased development of a large, mechanized, underground mine on its Platreef discovery of platinum, palladium, nickel, copper, gold and rhodium on the Northern Limb of the Bushveld Complex in South Africa.

Based on a preliminary economic assessment, the Platreef project could mine eight million tonnes a year yielding 785,000 ounces of platinum, palladium, rhodium and gold per year. According to the company, this would make it Africa's lowest-cost producer of platinum-group metals.

Keen to know what rather vague phrases like “historically disadvantaged South African staff” might mean, we also dug up the Ivanhoe info page on the project; despite such an arguably groundbreaking move the relevant info was buried at the bottom of the page, but here it is. Short on specifics, it nonetheless provides some context for the decision, which hopefully will go some way to reinforcing the strength of the company's social licence in South Africa:

On May 30, 2014, the South African government's Department of Mineral Resources approved Ivanhoe's application for a long-term mining right covering the development of platinum-group elements, nickel, copper and gold resources at the company's Platreef Project on the Northern Limb of the Bushveld Igneous Complex in South Africa's Limpopo Province.

Ivanhoe now has the right to mine and process all platinum group metals, nickel, copper, gold and certain associated metals and minerals from the Platreef Project mining area, subject to the company complying with the terms on which the mining right was granted -- including the requisite environmental management program becoming effective, which is expected in due course. It also is expected that the mining right, when executed, will be for an initial period of up to 30 years and will be renewable for an unlimited number of consecutive periods each of up to 30 years. 

The approval of the mining-right application followed an intensive review and engagement between representatives of Ivanhoe and the DMR which finalized details of Ivanhoe's corporate programs covering the required social, labour, environmental management and mining commitments. 

Agreement also was reached on acceptable terms for a B-BBEE participation structure that were progressively refined and optimized to ensure that the resulting partnership would deliver long-term benefits to local communities and entrepreneurs, as well as to Platreef's employees. In terms of Platreef's mining right, the B-BBEE partners will own a combined 26% of the Platreef Project. Additional details of the B-BBEE participation structure will be released in the near future.