Richards Bay Minerals and the Dube, Mkhwanazi, Mbonambi and Sokhulu communities have signed a landmark agreement securing local business participation in the Zulti South project.
Approved in April, 2019, the project will bring an investment of US$463 miilion, approximately ZAR6 billion, into the region for the construction and development of Zulti South, which will extend the life of Richards Bay Minerals.
The agreement is the result of discussions undertaken through a Multi-Stakeholder Forum process to address Host Community concerns around procurement.
The agreement outlines the principles that form the basis for a broad-based structure with the Host Communities and their partners in the King Cetshwayo District, which will benefit the communities by creating opportunities for participation that would otherwise not have been accessible.
The Consortium established through the agreement will act as a mechanism to accelerate and deliver transformation and empowerment to businesses in the district.
Other communities will continue to have the opportunity to participate in contracts other than those ring-fenced, with the Provincial government overseeing implementation.
Speaking at the signing on behalf of the host communities, Mbonambi Administrator, Martin Mbuyazi said:
“We welcome this investment into our region, and are committed to working with all parties. The agreement creates a broad-based structure that creates new opportunities for Host Communities to participate in a business that has long been in our community. Working together, with integrity and respect this agreement – and project – will be a success.”
Speaking on behalf of the Premier of KwaZulu-Natal Sihle Zikalala, the MEC for Finance, Ravi Pillay said:
''As government we wish to take the opportunity to congratulate Richards Bay Minerals Rio Tinto for recognising the role and support of host communities of Mbonambi, Sokhulu, Mkhwanazi and Dube – in securing the future of this world-class business.
"This investment will forever change the economic and social landscape of this region with thousands of jobs being created and, in the process, serving as a source of livelihoods here in this part of KwaZulu-Natal and beyond.
"We congratulate you on your commitment to Broad-Based Economic Empowerment that continues to support SMMEs from this region and the province."
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Werner Duvenhage, MD, Richards Bay Minerals said:
“This is an important milestone for Richards Bay Minerals and underscores our commitment to create truly sustainable development through working with our partners, including the government, suppliers and host communities.
"This agreement is pioneering and transformative, ensuring that our communities can directly participate in this major project.
“The agreement will help accelerate economic transformation and empowerment in the Host Communities and will ensure more benefits flow directly into the communities, benefiting women, youth, people with disabilities and local businesses, while maintaining world-class safety and business standards.
"On behalf of Rio Tinto and Richards Bay Minerals I would like to thank our stakeholders, especially the Provincial government, Department of Minerals and Energy and Amakhosi of our Host Communities who have supported and guided this process.”