The new owner of PPC Lime, Kgatelopele Lime, will focus on entering new markets for its product and expanding its customer base.
Kgatelopele is a consortium of mineral resource trader IMR Resources South Africa, mining-focused investment holding companies Kolobe Nala Investment Lime and HEX2M, and JJJL Mining, a company owned by a former PPC CEO John Claassenwho has a thorough understanding of PPC Lime and how it works.
At the beginning of May, Kgatelopele signed transaction agreements with JSE-listed PPC to acquire the subsidiary for R515 million.
The new owners expect the transaction to be completed by the end of the year. However, the rights, benefits and benefits of PPC Lime were transferred to Kgatelopele on April 1st.
Upon completion of the transaction, PPC Lime will be 39% black-owned, including black economy empowering investors, PPC Lime employees and host communities.
The name Kgatelopele (a Setwana word for “progress”) is shared with the local community where the mine is located to symbolize the intention of the new owners to partner with the wider community.
In the PPC lime mining and processing plants in the North Cape, reactive lime, hard burnt lime, hydrated lime, burnt dolomite lime and raw limestone are produced. It supplies industries such as iron and steel, alloys, gold, uranium, copper, non-ferrous metals, sugar refining, water treatment and flue gas desulphurisation.
PPC lime mines from two quarries, while a rotary kiln plant produces the burned product. The primary limestone quarry opened in 1954 at Lime Acres with an extensive reserve of metallurgical grade limestone and dolomite.
The total calcination capacity at Lime Acres is 900,000 t / year, making PPC Lime a leading supplier of these products in sub-Saharan Africa.
Traditionally, lime is mainly used in steel making, where it acts as a flux to remove contaminants such as silica, phosphorus and sulfur.
Kolobele Nala founder Billy Mawasha According to Engineering News & Mining Weekly, PPC Lime has traditionally served the iron and steel sector, but there are opportunities for the company to pursue more opportunities in water treatment and non-ferrous metals, including gold, platinum and copper mining.
He adds that the company will also provide lime for the desulfurization of fluorodeoxyglucose gas to companies like the petrochemical giant and miner Sasol.
IMR Africa head Aneesh Misra According to Kgatelopele, the growth plans will be set for the markets and new industries that the company wants to access. For example, volume growth will be tailored to the industries the company is engaging in and the needs of end product customers.
In response to the question of whether Kgatelopele will rename PPC Lime, Misra and Mawasha state that they will be renaming with an emphasis on identifying with employees and stakeholders and positioning the company for entry into the fourth industrial revolution – since lime plays a crucial role the green agenda.
“Our strategy is not just limited to lime, but also includes looking at the bigger picture of the persecution of the black industrialist narrative by supporting the revitalization of the steel sector wherever possible.
“With government support, there will be a new wave of growth in the steel sector and we want to position ourselves for these opportunities and act as an incubator for the growth of the mining value chain,” explains Mawasha.
Misra adds that the company will focus on sustainable growth to add to the existing workforce and that the group is aware of the socio-economic challenges in the North Cape and strives to leverage the skills and knowledge that the new owners can bring with existing expertise, to reconcile.
“Those assets exist in this community and it’s important to operate in that framework,” notes Mawasha, especially since these ancient assets have been around for more than six decades.
The site is estimated to have an additional five decades of extractable reserves.
PPC Lime employs around 250 people and more than 100 contractors at its locations.
“We have already identified several ways to maintain the mine’s world-class status while using our global trading network to identify new sources of demand.
“There are not often opportunities to procure such quality goods, and this consortium is ready to ensure that not only will it be produced for many years to come, but that it will be revitalized by its new owners,” comments HEX2M.