Presentations at the TZMI 2018 Congress by producer Base
Resources and explorers Sheffield Resources and Kalbar
Resources have highlighted the growing importance of
environmental and social aspects in the success of existing
and upcoming projects in the heavy mineral sand space.
The event in Singapore was hosted by independent consultant
TZMI on November 12-14.
The positive management of these aspects has been
highlighted by Iluka’s labor strike incident in
Sierra Leone, Rio Tinto’s Richards Bay Minerals
labor dispute in South Africa, a report by Amnesty
International on Chinese heavy mineral mining in Mozambique,
and the planned shutdown in 2020 of existing miner Sibelco on
Queensland’s Stradbroke Island because of
community-led environmental concerns.
In order to avoid disruptions to supply, Australian mineral
sand producer Base Resources said that it has made great
efforts to invest in the local community in Kenya, where it
operates. The company has invested $3.8 million in community
and environmental programs such as tree-planting and
agricultural initiatives, building projects and
The company has announced that it has already begun to
prepare a community development plan for its Toliara mineral
sands project in Madagascar, which it hopes to bring into
production by the end of 2021.
Another producer, Southern Ionics, told Fastmarkets on the
conference sidelines that its environmental stewardship
policies were a core value of the company, and that it took
great pride in its efforts toward remediation, impact
mitigation, permitting and compliance, as well as education
The company engages regularly with environmental groups as
well as the community, welcoming people to tour its
facilities, and says that these policies are key to the
company’s success and its future.
Sheffield Resources has also demonstrated that it is taking
community and environmental aspects very seriously. On the
opening night of TZMI’s 2018 congress, the
company presented its customers with artwork created by its
local community in Australia.
The initiative was part of an effort to recognize the
Kimberly region’s rich Aboriginal history, which
includes a strong tradition of art, song, dance and
The company will encourage each customer to meet
'their’ artist when they visit West Kimberley to
see the Thunderbird operation, and the supply chain and
export facilities at the Derby and Broome ports.
Elsewhere, Kalbar Resources presented its deposit in
Victoria, Australia, as one which would offer enormous
economic benefits to the local community, which is mostly a
farming society. The deposit would send about 550,000 tonnes
per year of heavy mineral concentrate to China over a 15-year
mine life, beginning in 2020, and has environmental approvals
The next steps for the project include an environmental
approval submission to come in February 2019, with statutory
approvals due in the third or fourth quarter of the same
Kalbar has made significant efforts to engage with the
local community by hosting informal groups and individual
information sessions, displaying environmental study
results online as well as producing a regular newsletter.
The increasingly important role that environmental and
social factors play in determining the viability of a project
is becoming a forefront issue, demonstrated by a large number
of presentations at this year’s TZMI
This comes as many companies battle against declining
grades, declining value of mineral assemblages and a higher
percentage of contaminants in the final products.
Exploration and mining companies must, therefore, balance
their social and environmental responsibilities with their
obligations toward their financial stakeholders. Companies
are increasingly finding the most effective and efficient
ways of managing all of these important factors, but much
more is needed if supply security is to be ensured.