Related Links

1867 – 1929

1867: Geological exploration starts in the Northern Cape province of South Africa.
1876: John Mintern surveys farms such as Beeshoek, Doornfontein, Driehoekspan and Paling.
1907: Dr AW Jones and the Geological Commission of the Cape Colony identify manganese at Black Rock. The immense potential of South Africa’s manganese deposits is finally understood, but the lack of a rail link deters investment.
1926: Captain Thomas Shone and his partners set up Union Manganese Mines and Minerals Limited. They buy seven properties, including Bruce and King, and obtain mineral leases for others, such as Beeshoek and Bishop.
1928: Guido Sacco forms Gloucester Manganese Mines near Postmasburg.
1929: Shone’s new venture, the Manganese Corporation Limited, is registered. Large-scale production begins at the corporation’s Beeshoek property.

1930 – 1939

1930: The Koopmanfontein to Postmasburg railway line is opened for freight business.
1934: Anglo Transvaal Consolidated Investment Company Limited (Anglovaal) is established by Bob Hersov and Slip Menell. Guido Sacco approaches Bob Hersov with a view to restructure the industry and forms African Mining and Trust.
1935: Anglovaal and African Mining and Trust, as partners, register a new company to mine the Gloucester Manganese and Manganese Corporation deposits. It is named the Associated Manganese Mines of South Africa Limited (AMMOSAL), now called Assmang Proprietary Limited.
1936: The first manganese ore from AMMOSAL sails from Durban.

1940 – 1949

1940: Assmang acquires Black Rock and opens a new mine there.
1945: The mine is closed due to a shortage of railway trucks to the Gloucester railhead and shipping capacity.
1948: After WWII, several mines, including Black Rock, were reopened to fuel reconstruction in war-torn Europe.

1950 – 1959

1950s: A second rush for ore-bearing properties occurs. Assmang has options in the Kalahari on N’Chwaning, Belgravia, Santoy and Gloria. Assmang obtains titles to vast deposits of manganese ore that will last the company for many years to come.
1956: Negotiations between Anglovaal and African Mining and Trust result in the acquisition of the entire share capital of Gloucester Manganese, which becomes Assmang’s first ever wholly owned subsidiary. Gloucester, Bishop and Paling mines continue to operate, providing low-grade ore, but by the end of the 1960s some of the mines are closed.
1959: Faced with continuing rail capacity shortages, Assmang decides to diversify into mineral beneficiation. Ferralloys Limited becomes Assmang’s second wholly owned subsidiary. It produces ferromanganese and pig iron. Assmang opens two new open pit mines – Devon and Adams – to supply Ferralloys’ furnaces with manganese ore.

1960 – 1969

1961: The rail extension from Sishen to Hotazel is completed.
1962: Eskom power reaches Beeshoek and Gloucester. Old primitive mining methods give way to industrial machinery.
1964: The first iron ore is exported.
1967: At least 120 railway trucks are dispatched daily and Iron ore railings exceed one million tonnes.
1969: Assmang diversifies into low-carbon ferrochrome. African Mining and Trust’s consulting engineer, Wally Parker, recommends that the new plant be located at Fairview near Machadodorp in the Eastern Transvaal.

1970 – 1979

1970: Assmang has become the biggest individual exporter of iron ore in South Africa.
1970s: US Steel buys 354 821 shares in Assmang and agrees to buy iron ore for at least 15 years. Beeshoek is upgraded in all respects and the scattered quarries are consolidated into open-cast pits.
1970: Belgravia mine, near Blackrock, opens as a new source of medium- and high-grade ore. World demand increases strongly.
1971: Ferrochrome smelter is completed.
1975: Blackrock and Belgravia are upgraded. Two new manganese mines at N’Chwaning and Gloria are commissioned. Assmang’s capacity has almost doubled. Mechanisation is the norm throughout Assmang’s portfolio.
1975: Beeshoek iron ore facilities are enlarged; this included the commissioning of a full washing and screening plant and a jig plant.

1980 – 1989

1980s: Assmang reaches an agreement with Iscor Ltd, the owner of the Sishen Iron Ore Mine, for cooperation on mining and railing to the port of Saldanha Bay.
1981: Railings increase to 1 113 000 tonnes, but production has to stop due to a recession and the political aftermath of the Soweto uprisings.
1980s: N’Chwaning 2 is commissioned. Capacity exceeds 3 million tonnes per annum.
1982-83: A severe recession in the steel industry prevails and production stops at Black Rock, Belgravia and Gloria. Assmang moves into a maintenance and exploration phase. A solid double layer of manganese seams is outlined at N’Chwaning, running beneath the Blackrock and Belgravia deposits.
1988: Assmang’s performance improves. Iron ore railings increase to 1 479 000 tonnes, and manganese ore railings rise to 1 519 000 tonnes.

1990 – 1999

1994: Assmang obtains ISO 9002 accreditation and becomes the first Southern Hemisphere mning operation to be audited and accredited for all its surface and underground operational functions.
1998: Cato Ridge Alloys (Pty) Ltd (CRA) is incorporated by Assmang as a new – 50{d7683696febcc773a119109901fefe1b6dbafe1db663f95e0f7cae318801e978} owned – subsidiary, and production starts.
1998: Assmang acquires the chrome resource at Dwarsrivier, in the Mpumalanga province of South Africa, and approves finance to build a mine and expand capacity at Ferralloys in Machadodorp.
1999: Assmang commissios a new southern extension at Beeshoek Mine (Beeshoek South).
1999: Assmang starts planning a new mine on Bruce, King and Mokaning (BKM) farms. A feasibility study is commissioned for a 10 million tonne per year mine.

2000 – 2010

2001: New jig plant and iron recovery plant are built, but Beeshoek is reaching the end of its productive life and the projected production rate of 6 million tonnes of iron ore per year would result in remaining reserves not lasting far beyond 2010.
2001: Assmang restructures its operations into three divisions: Manganese, Chrome and Iron Ore.
2004: Anglovaal restructures and African Rainbow Minerals (ARM) is formed. It is the first Black Economic Empowerment (BEE) mining giant in South Africa.
2004: N’Chwaning 3 starts production.
2005: The board approves the first phase of the BKM project – to establish an 8.4 million tonne per annum export iron ore mine – following a first commitment from national transport authority, Transnet, to expand the Sishen Orex export rail line.
2006: Assore and ARM become the only shareholders of Assmang, with a 50 {d7683696febcc773a119109901fefe1b6dbafe1db663f95e0f7cae318801e978} interest each, and Assmang delists from the JSE. Proceeds are injected into new projects.
2007: BKM first phase is completed and the second phase starts, to increase the export tonnage from 8.4 million tonnes to 10 million tonnes per annum, as of March 2009.

2010 – to date

2010: Conversion of ferro chrome capacity in Machadodorp to ferro manganese commences.
2012: Production of ferrochrome at the Machadodorp Works is suspended due to adverse conditions in the ferro chrome market.
2013: Assmang enters into a JV agreement with Sumitomo Corporation and China Steel Corporation to build a manganese alloy smelting facility in the Sarawak State of Malaysia, Sakura Ferroalloys.
2014: Construction of Sakura Ferroalloys plant starts.
2014: Assmang commences with the Black Rock Expansion Project aiming to increase manganese output to 4.6 Mt per annum by 2020.
2015: Production starts on Village Pit at Beeshoek Mine.
2016: Commissioning of furnance land furnance 2 at Sakura Ferroalloys.