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JOHANNESBURG ( – A new limestone operation that will supply JSE-listed cement producer Sephaku is scheduled to get under way early in the New Year near Lichtenburg, in the North West.

Sephaku Holdings on Wednesday reported an operating profit of R33.8-million for the six months to September 30 compared with a R10.1-million loss for 2012.

The company told the results presentation that mining would be outsourced to a contractor still to be named.

Sephaku Cement’s Aganang operation will produce at a rate of 6 000 t of clinker a day and 1.2-million tons of cement a year.

Sephaku Holdings CEO Dr Lelau Mohuba and Sephaku Cement CEO Pieter Fourie spoke toMining Weekly Online in a video interview (see attached).

Fourie said the first limestone would be produced in March 2014.

Work had already begun on the main haul road and mining would take place on three faces to assure the correct quality mix.

“We’ve outsourced the mining and we’ve also included in their scope, empowerment and enterprise development,” Fourie said.

“We’ll have our first bag of cement in January, a little over a month from today,” Mohuba said, adding that cement production was expected to be at steady state in 2015.

Mining will take place at a rate of 2-million tons to 2.5-million tons of limestone a year for the next 30 years.Every ton of cement requires 1.6 t of limestone and some of the clinker produced at Aganang will be used at Delmas, where Sephaku has a grinding plant.

The company, which will use fly ash as an extender, expects to be South Africa’s lowest-cost producer, as the country’s first new entrant since 1934.

The group achieved revenue of R301.6-million from no revenue for the same period in 2012, following its acquisition of mixed-concrete company Metier.

Projected sales volumes point to capacity being take up by 2017.

“We think there is room for activities like this again post that period,” Mohuba added.

Edited by: Creamer Media Reporter