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When Black Royalty Minerals, a subsidiary of the Makole Group launched the Chilwavhusiku Colliery in Bronkhorstspruit, in January 2018, one of its primary objectives was to create economic development in the community.

Key to this was ensuring that over 80% of the colliery workforce are locals and from a supplier and procurement perspective, they meet the BBBEE criteria and are sourced from the surrounding Bronkhorstspruit community.

“We’ve made great strides in realising these objectives as they directly impact on achieving the greater mining output objective,” comments Makole Group chairman Ndavhe Mareda.

“The first load of coal delivered to Eskom was at the end of March 2018 and we aim to deliver 50 000 more tons of coal by the end of April and the majority of the trucking contracts have been set aside for local developing and established businesses.

“Ensuring these outputs means ensuring that the broader community economic development mandate, spanning over five years will be achieved,” he continues.

Chilwavhusiku, in full operational swing, has so far created direct jobs in both specialist and administrator positions, with staff directly employed by Black Royalty Minerals.

These include the positions of a mine manager, mine engineer, geologists, health and safety, logistics and administrative support, all contributing to the employment impact wage bill.

Additionally, the mine has set aside procurement for services where the suppliers will be from black owned local businesses which are part of the designated groups of youth, female and disabled people.

Procurement of services through black owned, local and designated groups has already taken place for security, coal trucking, diesel supplies, loading contracts and water carts.  Employment opportunities have been created through subcontracted services.

“A success story however is not without teething problems or challenges, which we encountered and tackled quite effectively.

“The goal was to work towards efficiency while being creative in maintaining sustainability not only through business development but through several poverty eradication projects,” adds Mareda.

Mareda indicates that the poverty eradication projects are set to include agricultural farming projects and training the communities in business management and agriculture skills.

Black Royalty Minerals will oversee the projects for a period of five years and intends for them to become self-sustaining post mine operations.

“Mining is not a mutually exclusive endeavour when we talk about overall economic development.

“Black Royalty Minerals continues to make definitive strides to create a greater impact in the community and this includes support with educational initiatives and skills development,” concludes Mareda.