Life of a mine

Life of a mine

Following a staggered approach to mining operations to maximise efficiency, the current status is that much of the Tisand lease area has been mined and rehabilitated. Zulti North is currently being mined and we plan to continue mining up until 2030. Mining of the Zulti South lease area is still under exploration and mining has not been carried out to a large degree.

Commitment to ecological restoration

Commitment to ecological restoration

Since 1977 RBM has mined heavy minerals from the coastal dunes of KwaZulu-Natal. Post-mining dune rehabilitation restores to the mined lands a combination of native coastal dune forest (1/3 of the land) and cash crop trees for local communities.

Since 1977 RBM has mined heavy minerals from the coastal dunes of KwaZulu-Natal. Post-mining dune rehabilitation restores to the mined lands a combination of native coastal dune forest (1/3 of the land) and cash crop trees for local communities.

A proactive approach is employed to restore the native forest. Topsoils are first moved from pre-mining areas to post-mining areas. The natural inventory of seeds in the soil sprouts rapidly-growing, short-lived trees which quickly blanket the dunes. As these trees mature then die, they are gradually replaced by a diverse range of plants.

Independent studies by the Coastal Ecology Research Unit of the University of Pretoria follow the development of differently-aged rehabilitation parcels to understand and evaluate progress. Forest soils, trees, millipedes, birds and small mammals all show an impressive restoration of biodiversity.

The ecological trajectories are complex, but the data show that a forest approaching the structural and functional biodiversity of undisturbed forest patches in the region develops after about 30 years. The rehabilitation effort demonstrates the value of RBM’s long-term commitment to ecological restoration and the power of its local science partnerships in evaluating success.

At Richards Bay Minerals, as we extract minerals containing titanium dioxide, used in paint pigment, we are restoring native trees and sand dunes and renewing our licence to operate.