DEAR ALL, we launch this de- but edition of Kalagadi News with an immense sense of pride. The aim of the publication is to regularly provide updates to our staff and stakeholders with the latest news, developments and the progress made on a number of projects as well as other related initiatives. I am excited to share with you a number of successes made thus far.

About two and half years ago we embarked on a journey of sinking the main and the ventila- tion shafts as part of our greenfield project of construct- ing an underground mine and a sinter plant in the Kalahari desert of the Northern Cape. It is important to indicate that this was at the height of what has been termed the ―worst finan- cial crisis since the Great De- pression‖ when other compa- nies were either scaling back or cancelling their projects.

Equally we were not immune to the temptation of doing likewise. However, as one could say, we took a cue from Nassim Nicho- las Taleb’s book, The Black Swan,

The Impact of the Highly Improbable’s wise counsel that we ―invest in preparedness, not prediction‖. Indeed, we were prepared. Still, there were seri- ous challenges that we had to overcome such as the lack of critical infrastructure including electricity, rail, and water. We took a counter-intuitive approach of continuing with our plans instead of jumping on the bandwagon.

We did so because we were driven by a passion to make a difference. We remained undeterred from our goal of: stimulating the local economy and contributing towards arrest- ing the scourge of poverty and inequality. To borrow from Robert Chambers ―putting the last first‖ this meant that in our commercial endeavours we ensured a balanced approach that ensured that those in the margins of society become an integral part of our projects. To date, that decision has paid divi- dends in terms of social empow- erment and commercial success. Furthermore and most impor- tantly, both the mine and sinter are halfway towards completion.

Needless to say, our sailing has not been smooth. We had to navigate numerous obstacles: paths fraught with snares and cynics who scoffed at us because we are not engineers with ex- perience in the extractive industries, but women who sought to make a meaningful contribution towards the development of their country. When we started the journey, we set out to build a mining operation, an ore proc- essing plant and a smelter operation.

It is with immense sense of pride and joy to inform you that ―the main shaft has holed through the lateral develop- ments to the ventilation shaft at a depth of 281m – the produc- tion level.

The ore preparation plant is 59% complete and we remain poised to start production in the second half of 2012. All this has been achieved using the company’s equity contribution.

At the writing of this issue, we celebrate achieving more than 2.2 million man hours without a single fatality. For this, we would like to convey our heartfelt gratitude to all our dedicated staff members and contractors.

To reach this point we have had to learn the ropes, and there- fore make mistakes. But a Chinese adage informs us that; ―Success in the end erases all the mistakes along the way.

Our project could be a drop in the ocean, but certainly a bold step in the right direction to- wards ensuring that as a country we do not remain ―a supplier of raw materials and an importer of manufactured goods‖ given that mining is the backbone of our economy.

Our approach has undoubtedly been unorthodox, moti- vated by constructive dis- course, and believing that whatever the challenges we face as a country, none should be considered insurmountable. Both the mine and sinter are expected to create about 1800 permanent jobs, while the smelter is expected to create about 400 permanent jobs, with considerable em- ployment multiplier effects.

Although the road ahead may still be long and hard, we remain aware that, in the words of former President Mbeki: ―Those who complete the marathon course will do so only because they do not, as fatigue sets in, convince themselves that the road ahead is still too long, the incline too steep, the loneliness impossible to bear and the prize itself of doubtful value.‖

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