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ASX-listed mineral sands company Mineral Commodities Limited (MRC) says its Tormin mine, for which it was recently awarded the prospecting rights, is estimated to be worth over R1 billion a year for the Western Cape economy.

The Tormin mine is located on the west coast, approximately 400 km north of Cape Town, with deposits of the valuable heavy minerals: zircon, rutile and ilmenite.

The building phase will create 40 local jobs and, thereafter, up to 100 people will be employed during the mine’s existence. That will add a minimum of at least five years of mine life to the project.

Matzikama Local Municipality’s mayor, Delina Goedeman, said the council had developed a good working relationship with MRC. “We see the project as making a significant contribution to the local people and economy, which are in great need of jobs and opportunities to develop skills.”

In the Eastern Cape, MRC has renewed its prospecting rights over four of the blocks and reapplied for prospecting rights for the Kwanyana block of the Xolobeni project – containing more than 9 Mt of ilmenite and regarded as one of the largest undeveloped mineral sands resources in the world.

Last year, ANC secretary-general Gwede Mantashe called on mayors and councillors in the Wild Coast to unite behind the granting of licences for mining in the area to unlock the development potential and benefit poverty-struck communities.

The Xolobeni project would see about R2 billion invested in local infrastructure, employ 300 people for two years to build the mine and 600 during its 25-year life cycle. On a standard 5:1 ratio for job creation on projects of this nature, Xolobeni would create about 3 000 direct and indirect jobs in one of the poorest areas of South Africa.

“In excess of R1 billion would also be realised by the local community, who are 26% shareholders in the project, over this period from dividends and other investment commitments by MRC to further develop the region and its people.”

Directors Guy Walker, James Leahy, Joseph Caruso and Peter Torre, as well as executive chairman Mark Caruso and Cape Town-based CEO Andrew Lashbrooke, will lead local government, members of the Department of Mineral Resources, stakeholders and media on a tour of the Tormin site on Thursday, February 7. The international board members will be in Cape Town to attend the Mining Indaba.

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