Chinese group buys auctioned Mapochs mine




The provisionally liquidated Mapochs mine has been sold under the hammer to International Resources Limited (IRL) of China, BiddersChoice MD Pieter Geldenhuysconfirmed to Mining Weekly Online on Friday.

In February last year, the Evraz Highveld Steel and Vanadium business rescue practitioners announced that they would seek to sell individual components of the steel and vanadium company following a failure to conclude the sale of the entire business to IRL, which owned the stockpile at the mine ahead of Thursday’s auction.

The mine, which was originally part of Anglo American, has its own rail network, train station and train store and formerly operated at a rate of 2.2-million tonnes a year.

Following its acquisition from Anglo by the Russian group Evraz several years ago, Mapochs supplied ore for the production of both steel and vanadium to Evraz Highveld Steel and Vanadium.

Situated in Mpumalanga province, 5 km from the town of Roossenekal on the road to Steelpoort, the mainly opencastand partially underground mine is on a large footprint that provides scope for expansion.

The R50-million deposits bidders were required to pay into trust accounts ahead of the auction constituted the value of opening bids.

Sold were the mine’s right to extract magnetite ore that includes vanadium and iron-ore, and many other metals and minerals.

The successful bidder has also acquired crushers, conveyors, electrical substations, thickener plants and other mininginfrastructure on the 6 211 ha property consisting of various farm portions, as well as various residential properties in Roossenekal.

Vanadium’s modern use in energy-storage batteries has put the metal in headlines in recent months.

Vanadium flow batteries are earmarked to store power from renewable sources of energy, smoothing out peaks and troughs and making the power supply more dependable.

The absence of historical production from South Africa – which until 2014 was the world’s second-biggest source of the industrial metal with a market share of 14% – has fundamentally lowered vanadium supply in recent years, putting upward pressure on prices.