Anglo American Kumba Iron Ore and South African-based drilling services provider Rosond have entered a R2 billion multi-year agreement.
The agreement will develop and implement the next generation drilling contract.
The partnership is a culmination of a long-term relationship between Rosond and Anglo American that spans 40 years.
The agreement follows an exhaustive process undertaken by Kumba Iron Ore as part of the initiative to modernise its geoscience operations, and extend the life-of-mine of Kolomela and Sishen mines, to elevate safety standards, and improve productivity.
Read more about platinum group metals
In addition, the partnership will contribute toward the development of small-micro medium enterprises in the host communities of Postmasburg and Kathu, in which Rosond has committed to partner with a local Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment partner to develop a fully independent drilling company in the Northern Cape.
In line with ensuring gender diversity and inclusion, Rosond has further committed to the skills development and advancement of female employees in the field of drilling.
Commenting on the conclusion of the service agreement, Themba Mkhwanazi, CEO for Anglo American Kumba Iron Ore says:
“The partnership sets a new standard in terms of our objective to advance local and host community businesses to the industry that is built off a strong technology advancement platform.
"Over the course of our long relationship with Rosond, they have established themselves as a South African company capable of making a substantial contribution to the industry.
"It is also pleasing to see Rosond replicating the same model and developing small enterprises from our host communities.
“We believe by working with Rosond, we will achieve our ambition of improving efficiencies and safety through the use of technology enablement, as they share the same value as Kumba on safety and ensuring Zero Harm in the operations”.
Rosond has been involved in the research and development of the “next generation” drill rigs for more than five years.
"The technology we're bringing is available in various disciplines. What we have done is to package and tweak it into a formula that we believe works in this drilling environment – that we believe works for our clients.
"The drilling space has always been seen as a dirty type of hard work, but it does not have to be that way. It can be really sophisticated", says Ricardo Ribeiro, MD of Rosond.
As part of the deal, Rosond is set to roll out 30 advanced drilling rigs beginning in mid-January 2020, as it introduces a level of technology that will make South Africa world-class industry leaders in the drilling space. Anglo American Kumba Iron Ore will have one of the most advanced drilling fleets in operation globally.
"We felt that Kumba Iron Ore strongly prioritised these considerations, and that they were therefore the right company for us to partner with in delivering these innovations into the field.
Read more about mining in southern Africa
"I don’t think any drilling company could do this without collaborating with a big mining company, so we really appreciate Kumba Iron Ore's foresight in buying into our vision. Their input makes this great stride forward possible", concludes Ribeiro.