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Sekoko Resources I n 2002 the South African government changed the rules relating to mineral rights. Until then, whoever owned the surface also owned the rights to the minerals below the surface. The government reversed that decision and in effect nationalized mineral rights. No doubt it was a move that didn't go down well with entrenched interests, but it did open the door for a new generation of mining entrepreneurs; in particular, it encouraged members of the black community to get involved with the mining industry as part of its Black Economic Empowerment program. Once such person was Timothy Tebeila from the northernmost Limpopo Province, who in 2004 co- founded Sekoko Resources. Although Tebeila studied mining at university, his career took him first to teaching and then insurance. Nevertheless, Tebeila recognised that there were localities within an established mining area which hadn't been developed but which almost certainly had some potential. With the rights to prospect for coal, iron and platinum, Tebeila put together a broad- based shareholding for Sekoko, getting investments from community and disadvantaged groups to supplement his own investment. An experienced team of professionals was put together, and work began on assessing the potential of the rights they held. " The reality is that small investors will never have enough capital to develop a mine," says vice president of exploration Andy Johnson. " Our role is to prospect for minerals and then enter a joint venture agreement to extract and sell what we find." So far it looks as though the best option is going to come from coal in the Waterberg and Soutpansberg districts. In fact, most of the company's platinum prospecting rights have already been sold as a means of financing the coal exploration at Waterberg. Johnson explains: " We know about coal, whereas platinum is outside our scope of experience. What's more, there is an insatiable appetite for electricity, and the only way this July 09 www. bus- ex. com 55 After years of being on the outside of economic activity, the South African government is trying to encourage black South Africans to play a more entrepreneurial role in the development of the mining industry, as Alan Swaby learns

Global warming and CO2 emissions are obviously a concern, but like Poland and China, South Africa thinks there is no realistic alternative at the moment. " In addition to what industry wants, there is a programe to electrify the most outlying villages," says Johnson, " so the demand is high. South Africa is blessed with a lot of sunshine, but when you are producing electricity for some of the more energy- intensive industrial processes we have, the capital and area of land needed for solar panels just becomes impracticable." Eskom, apparently, is doing its best, equipping new power stations with the most up- to- date technology available, but until the problem of CO2 emissions has been resolved, coal will continue to alarm environmentalists. Sekoko ( which incidentally is the traditional African name for a hard hat) is six months into its bankable feasibility study, which should be complete by the first quarter of 2010, coinciding nicely with the mining application can realistically be satisfied in the short term is by coal." The government's idea about electricity generation is that, apart from the state- owned Eskom, it wants to see 30 per cent of energy coming from private initiatives. Many of the existing Eskom plants are 40 years old or more and reaching retirement age. Alternatively, if the plant is still operational, the coal supply is running out. South Africa lacks the rail and road infrastructure to transport long distances the huge amount of coal consumed by a power station, so the policy is to build stations where the coal is. As such, Eskom has already completed one new power station in the Waterberg area and is in the process of completing a second. In total, there could be six new power stations by 2020, and Johnson is confident not only that Sekoko will get an operational mine up and running on one of its leases but that it will also get a contract to supply Eskom with something in the order of 20 million tonnes of coal a year. " There is an insatiable appetite for electricity, and the only way this can realistically be satisfied in the short term is by coal" 56 www. bus- ex. com July 09