Welcome to Mine Restoration Investments
The MRI Group is an environmental services company focusing on the abatement of environmental impacts of the mining industry, while delivering sustainable returns to its shareholders. It has developed 2 areas of expertise: coal fines processing and briquetting, as well as Acid Mine Drainage, and continues to explore new technologies that meet its investment criteria.
Iron Mineral Beneficiation Services (IMBS) is a South African company focused on the production of metallic iron units. IMBS has developed a cost efficient technology capable of processing fine and superfine iron ore in an environmentally friendly manner. The patented technology, which uses thermal coal as reductant and energy source, converts superfine iron ore into metallic units without the need for agglomeration. The company has built and operated a prototype plant at Phalaborwa, following successful testwork at its demonstration plant in Johannesburg since 2007. MRI has entered into a transaction in which several of the existing IMBS shareholders will swap their stake in IMBS for a stake in MRI, followed by a capital raise of R150m by MRI to subscribe for additional shares in IMBS. Details of the transaction can be found in the SENS announcement of 26th June 2015. Details about IMBS can be found via the brochure or its website.
Coal Fines Processing
Coal fines have traditionally been an unwanted by‐product in the coal mining industry, and present a major disposal challenge. Surface and underground coal mining operations in South Africa produce approximately 300 million tons of coal per year, creating significant coal residues such as dust and fines. These typically constitute up to 10% of the total run of mine feed, and although they typically have appreciable calorific values and therefore high energy content, they are not easily marketable in their raw form.
MRI, and its subsidiary companies have developed specific expertise in screening, agglomerating and briquetting techniques. The Group owns and operates a coal fines screening and briquetting plant at Keaton’s Vaalkrantz Colliery, near Vryheid. It processes the waste dump and current tailings, and can produce a screened duff product or briquettes, which are marketed by Keaton. The plant was designed with a capacity of 5,000tpm and commissioned in February 2014, but was placed on care and maintenance in July 2015 owing to severe drought conditions and other operating challenges. In conjunction with our technology partner, Virto Group, MRI is currently exploring several opportunities to replicate the Group’s experience in new projects, in both metallurgical and thermal coal applications.
Acid Mine Drainage (“AMD”)
Gold mining operations in the Witwatersrand Basin over the last century created underground voids that have filled with water (AMD), posing a significant threat to ground water in Gauteng. MRI’s subsidiary, WUC, was established by the mining industry in 2007 to find a solution to the problem. After extensive research, it chose the CSIR’s Alkaline Barium and Calcium process, building a pilot-plant and presenting a bankable feasibility study to government in 2010. However, the Department of Water Affairs launched a feasibility study in February 2012 to investigate all possible technologies, and the company awaits the outcome of their assessment. The MRI Group continue to engage with stakeholders to find possible commercial applications of the technology developed by WUC, but the Board took the decision to impair the company’s intangible assets in line with prudent accounting principles.