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DAPHNE MASHILE-NKOSI, who will chair Kala­hari Re­sources, helped de­velop Eye­sizwe Coal, the Sipho Nkosi-backed coal pro­ducer that even­tu­ally merged with Kumba Re­sources. And in an­other cor­po­rate mu­ta­tion, it was the coal as­sets of Kumba Re­sources that were re­versed into newly listed di­ver­si­fied min­ing firm Exxaro Re­sources.

Mashile-Nkosi, who also chairs the Women’s De­vel­op­ment Bank, wants to add, how­ever, that she’s not the wife of Sipho. “Sipho asked me to join him in 1998 to help start Eye­sizwe Re­sources.” The sim­i­lar­ity in sur­names is just co­in­ci­dence.

In fact, Mashile-Nkosi was born in Pil­grim’s Rest in Mpumalanga, about 4,5km from the town that was built on gold min­ing.

“My grand­fa­ther was a fore­man at the mine,” she says. It’s in­ter­est­ing to note that those gold mines, con­sid­ered de­funct for years, are now be­ing worked again by Sim­mer & Jack Mines as the com­mod­ity boom gath­ers pace.

As chair­per­son of Kala­hari Re­sources, Mashile-Nkosi has first­mover ad­van­tage over the $6bn Ren­ova Group, a Rus­sian firm that said in Oc­to­ber it wanted to spend $1bn build­ing a man­ganese mine and smelter in SA. That de­vel­op­ment may yet come, but Kala­hari Re­sources doesn’t feel the del­i­cate man­ganese mar­ket will be tipped into over­sup­ply by the de­vel­op­ments.

“The world steel mar­ket is about one bil­lion tons/year, and it’s con­tin­u­ing to grow at about 4%,” said David Well­beloved, tech­ni­cal di­rec­tor of Kala­hari Re­sources.

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