Sishen mine

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Sishen mine
Panorama Sishen Mine ZA 2010.jpg
Panorama of Sishen Mine (2010)
Northern Cape
CountrySouth Africa
ProductsIron ore

The Sishen mine is a large iron mine located in central South Africa in Kathu, Northern Cape. Sishen represents one of the largest iron ore reserves in South Africa and in the world having estimated reserves of 2.43 billion tonnes of ore grading 58.6% iron metal.[1][2]

The Sishen mine has a geological structure producing a high-grade hematite ore, similar to those at Beeshoek mine. There has been investigation into a region known as the Sishen South exploration project which is 65 km south of Sishen mine.[3]

The Sishen mine was opened in 1947, and produced 30.9 million tonnes of iron ore in 2013.[4] In 2015, the mine produced far less and quarter on quarter results in 2016 show a decline in output.[5] In 2016, Kumba Iron Ore began the process of cutting nearly 4000 jobs in an attempt to restructure the Sishen mine and ensure profitability.[6]

The Sishen–Saldanha railway line that moves ore from the mines to international markets at the port of Saldanha is notable for the length of the 3,780 meter long trains that carry the ore.

Mine Ownership[edit]

The Sishen mine is owned by Kumba Iron Ore, which has a 73% interest in the Sishen Iron Ore Company Proprietary Limited (SIOC).[7] Anglo American plc has a 64.3% stake in Kumba Iron Ore.

Other stakeolders in the Sishen Iron Ore Company include Exxaro Resources Limited and ArcelorMittal SA (Amsa).

In 2009, Sishen Iron Ore, applied to take over the remaining 21% of Sishen Mine from ArcelorMittal SA (Amsa) who failed to convert their mining rights before 30 April 2009.[8] The South African Ministry of Mineral Resources instead granted the rights to ICT, a hitherto unknown mining company with alleged political ties to the government.[9][10] In 2011, this award was overturned by the courts but in 2013, the overturned judgement was taken to the constitutional court.[11] The final ruling was in favour of Kumba Iron Ore.[12]

In 2015, despite being awarded the 21.4% stake by South African Ministry of Mineral Resources, Kumba again sought legal recourse due to conditions attached to the ruling.[13] Kumba released a statement in October 2016 announcing their 100% ownership of Sishen mine.[14] Kumba is expected to resume payments to shareholders in 2017 following a rise in iron ore price and employee cutbacks - Nearly 4,000 jobs were cut at Kumba’s flagship Sishen Iron Ore mine in 2016. As a result, Sishen generated R4.5bn, enough to cover existing debt.[15]

External links[edit]

Media related to Sishen Mine at Wikimedia Commons


  1. ^ "Sishen Mine, Northern Cape, South Africa". 2012. Retrieved 2013-06-10.
  2. ^ "Kumba's mineral resources including ore reserves". 2012. Retrieved 14 June 2013.
  3. ^ Carney, M. D.; Mienie, P. J. (2003-04-01). "A geological comparison of the Sishen and Sishen South (Welgevonden) iron ore deposits, Northern Cape Province, South Africa". Applied Earth Science. 112 (1): 81–88. doi:10.1179/0371745032501171. ISSN 0371-7453.
  4. ^ "Iron ore: seeking a second Sishen". Financial Mail. Retrieved 2016-07-21.
  5. ^ Creamer, Martin. "Kumba Iron Ore sales down". Retrieved 2016-07-21.
  6. ^ "Kumba Iron Ore to cut 3,933 jobs in South Africa's Sishen mine restructuring process". Mining Technology. Retrieved 2016-07-21.
  7. ^ "Operations". Retrieved 2016-07-21.
  8. ^ "Mining rights: Sishen wins battle for control". Financial Mail. Retrieved 2016-07-21.
  9. ^ England, Andrew; MacNamara, William (2011-12-15). "South African judge overrules ICT rights award". Financial Times. ISSN 0307-1766. Retrieved 2016-07-21.
  10. ^ Faull, Lionel. "Sishen rivals braced for verdict". Retrieved 2016-07-21.
  11. ^ Andre Janse van Vuuren. "Kumba Dispute on Sishen Ownership Returns to S. Africa Court". Retrieved 2016-07-21.
  12. ^ Steyn, Lisa. "End of Sishen saga cast in iron". Retrieved 2016-07-21.
  13. ^ "Kumba becomes the sole owner of Sishen mine |". 2016-10-13. Retrieved 2016-12-25.
  14. ^ "Kumba granted residual 21.4% mining right for Sishen mine". Retrieved 2016-12-25.
  15. ^ McKay, David (2016-12-21). "Omens good for Anglo in 2017 as iron ore, diamonds turn up - Miningmx". Miningmx. Retrieved 2016-12-25.