Magni Investment Holdings (MiH), the investment management company with interests across multiple sectors, can confirm that its subsidiary, Lurco Coal Eswatini, has been granted a prospecting licence for coal resources at Mpaka Coal Mine in the Lubombo Region, of Eswatini. Ellington Nxumalo, co-founder of MiH, met with Eswatini Mining Commissioner, Robert Biyela on 4 October 2021 to ink the agreement. MiH will commence feasibility and exploration over the next few weeks and expects the timeline from this phase through construction to implementation to take between 24 to 36 months.
Mpaka Coal Mine was last operated in 1992, having been mothballed after the previous owner exiting the Eswatini market. The nature of the coal is suitable for smelters, steel and cement industries and will bolster the country’s participation in the export market and create employment opportunities particularly for the youth.
Senator Peter Bhembe, Minister of Natural Resources and Energy says, “As custodians of the mineral resources of the Kingdome of Eswatini, our ministry works to facilitate the creation of prosperity for all stakeholders through the promotion of the sustainable development and responsible exploitation of our country’s mineral wealth. With our economic growth plan, we are delighted to be partnering with an experienced resources sector player like MiH to optimise the mine and reignite opportunities for the local community and the wider Eswatini economy.”
Eswatini’s National Development Strategy sets out the long term development programmes that will move the country towards the improvement in livelihood standards of the Swazi people by 2022. While much has been achieved, the African Development Bank (AfDB) reports that a large proportion of the Swazi population is not participating in the mainstream economy as the current economic growth is not pro-poor and unemployment remains high. MiH believes that the Mpaka Coal Mine, once it is up and running efficiently, could be an important single point contributor to addressing this issue in Eswatini.
MiH is committed to delivering stakeholder value by creating inclusive economies through the responsible beneficiation of mineral resources. The company strives to add value locally, prioritising positive social impact and the inclusion of local people and communities in its operations. This is achieved primarily via job creation, skills transfer, enterprise development, preferential procurement and share allocations to local communities and employees. Consequently, MiH plans to meet with the Mpaka community to outline plans and timelines, undertake a needs assessment, answer questions, and agree the way forward.
Ellington Nxumalo, co-founder of MiH says, “Once up and running, we intend for Mpaka Coal Mine to contribute significantly to the local economy through employment, skills development and the creation of sustainable local value chains. We are currently in the exploration and feasibility stage, which is critical to scoping the scale of the operation. Once completed we will be in a better position to quantify our local impact commitments. However, as MiH, we anticipate that most roles will be sourced from local hires, and wherever possible, this will include those requiring special skills. Over time, we also plan for a community bursary scheme to ensure that local community members interested in mine-specific training and development can have the opportunity to follow their dreams.”
MiH investment in feasibility studies, geological exploration, mining and construction of the coal beneficiation plant at Mpaka is an indication of the organisation’s commitment to Eswatini investment and economic growth.