By Dawn Mokhobo, Chairperson of Wesizwe Platinum
We are moving towards the realisation of our goal to provide sustained mining services over the next 30 years, with the company strategy growing from its early phase towards maturity at a pleasing speed. It must be noted, in the interest of highlighting progress, which most of our core business structures are already at an advanced stage for a relatively new business – these include our governance, finance and sustainable development structures.
In the previous year’s report, I communicated the fact that Wesizwe’s mine would not only be cost effective to build, but that construction would also be done with a 26 month reduction in the time required to reach full production. This was due to Jinchuan, our Chinese consortium partner’s proactivity in conveying engineering optimisation innovations to ensure a timely and quality production.
I am thus proud to state that much progress has been made, in line with the company’s strategic imperative of achieving a 230 000tpm production level by October 2020. In the second quarter of 2017, our flagship project, BPM, is scheduled to commence production and by 2021, full-scale production will be reached. Wesizwe’s Life of Mine (LOM) will be sustained over a period of three decades presenting much needed job opportunities for our host community.
The mining industry continues to be highly dynamic and challenging due to the buildup of labour tensions over the last few years. However, our talent relations and labour approach have seen us continue steadily with the task at hand to begin production by 2017, and as mentioned above we are on schedule.
Demand for platinum was relatively flat during 2015, with the metal priced at an average of $1042.56/oz. The depreciating Rand in the third quarter of 2015 was a concern for the industry at large and played a role in weakening the price of platinum.
We have succeeded in reducing costs from the R10.7billion reported last year.
As a responsible corporate citizen, Wesizwe continuously finds ways to ensure that its operations are sustainable and considerate to nature, with minimal disruption to the environment.
The effect of the sub-Saharan region drought emanating from the El Nino effect was felt throughout 2015, particularly in the arid mining area in which we operate. Over the last few years, Wesizwe has been proactive in harnessing water supply for BPM and surrounding communities. In addition to the current water supply, the company’s permanent water supply programme for South Pilanesburg is well underway. Wesizwe has also commenced with building a reservoir through collaboration with Magalies Water, BPM and Maseve. The 50MI reservoir is located south of the two mines on the Mafenya Kopje and construction has already commenced with completion set for November 2016.
The board, executive management and workforce of Wesizwe have made a concerted effort to increase stakeholder interaction and engagement through various. This has resulted in a thorough understanding of the key elements of our business strategy and garnering implementation support for the long-term.
I wish to thank our former members of the Board, Mr. Barend Johannes Van Der Merwe and Mr. William Eksteen for their commitment to the Board, both resigned during the period under review. I thank the CEO, Mr. Jianke Gao and all Executives, for their exemplary leadership, and all Wesizwe employees for their continued commitment to ensuring that the company performs and implements its strategy diligently through the challenges faced in the last fiscal year.