Uranium One History – 2006 – Big Chancs at Uranium One

By Inge Olivier 

At a very informative day a few weeks ago, our Executive Mayor China Dodovu and other delegates from the Department of Labour -Education and other Community members were guests at the Uranium One, Dominion Reefs Uranium Mine.  Bruce Jones, the Executive Vice President of Uranium One invited the Media for a briefing so that the Local Community could be informed of the new developments happening at Dominion Reefs.


It was evident at the site of Uranium One that changes are taking place, and that our Matlosana area would benefit, especially the Hartbeesfontain area. 

Mining started in the Dominion region as early as 1888, and since then produced Uranium from 1955 to 1963.   In 1998 Anglo America sold the Afrikaner Lease to private shareholders. In October 2005 the revival started when the Dominion Reefs Uranium Mine (DRUM) JV formed with their BEE Partner, Micawber to later merge with the Southern Cross Resources to form sxr Uranium One Inc, in December 2005. 

The Rand Basin holds Uranium of approximately 3.1 Billion years old of which deposits are world class near surface in the Dominion Mines, as apposed to the Wits Basin deposits of only 2,7 billion years old.  Uranium is considered a global strategic mineral and Nuclear Power Plants worldwide are in need of constant supplies.  For South Africa to become a major supplier can only mean we can generate huge revenues for the Government as well as create job opportunities in our local areas.


The early drilling stages started during May 2005, samples are for metallurgical test work, and the drills are still evident as can been seen all over the landscape when driving past.  Uranium mining and Uranium Plants have not changed over the last 20 years, but this company has taken new ideas and modern technology and embarked on a whole new era of Uranium mining.


Their feasible study on competent ground conditions, near surface weathering, and with standard mining methods for narrow reefs in RSA, concluded that an estimated 200 000 tons of Uranium would be mined a month.   Their productivity rate would be that of  25m2/man/mth depending on the area of exploitation. To ensure that the Ventilation in efficient at 500 meters down, certain guidelines and procedures are followed and all safety measures are taken to make it as safe as possible, as the risk of radiation is only a 0.07%. Together with Phase 1 and Phase 2 the mines minimum expectancy is 30 years. The estimated costs for Phase 1 are to date R450 million. It was announced by the CEO, Neal Froneman, at a Press briefing in Toronto on 19 September that plant commissioning has started and a program of commissioning the remaining plant equipment is underway.  They were delighted that the delivery of the first Autoclave was ahead of schedule and were pleased to announce that all operations are ago. They are confident that the Uranium Plant will be completed in January 2007, and if construction continues to run smoothly, the first Uranium production should be in June 2007.  Uranium One identified the need to upgrade the Rietkuil and Dominionville substations, as they are required to provide bulk sampling for future mining. This upgrade will benefit the local community as well as the future school at Dominionville in later years. Jones said that Uranium One shows concern for the environment and they intend to build a new Sewage Treatment works that would minimize ground water pollution. An Additional incentive is the Bamboo Project, whereby fast growing, highly productive bamboo, is to be planted on the slimes and other areas.  This would create job opportunities as statistics show that 1/6 of the earths population live in Bamboo homes, it is a viable substitute for wood, suitable for Shoots and fodder, energy, housing, roofing and furniture.  


It has been a very long time that the Afrikaner Lease Mines have stood redundant only recently to be snatched up by this company who saw endless possibilities and have already changed the Hatebeesfontein’s unemployment rate from 80% to a decreasing 50%.  After successful negotiations with the local authorities, a water pipeline will be laid to the Mine and extended to Hartbeesfontein that will benefit as many as 25 000 people in Tigane once it is done. Much of their equipment to start with excavating the land was purchased from the local farmers and community.  All existing infrastructures as well as the existing roads, buildings and shafts are already in use.  Uranium One decided that they would use and purchase as much as possible from the local community, and pride themselves for being on the Proudly South African listing.


With the intention of employing as many needed local people as possible, they eradicate the problem of workers traveling to Homelands and taking their revenue to other areas.  They would like to see the money earned here- spent here and they would like to boost the housing industry in Tigane and Hartbeesfontein where the workers would go home to their families ever day, for which transport is provided to the majority of their employees. Uranium One have also reopened the Clinic at the Rietkuil Mine, and have made this facility available to all the workers and community.  


The workforce at Dominion now totals 1 300 employees and it was very satisfying to hear from Jones that Uranium One has employed 272 DRD retrenchees’ and have a goal to educate, train and qualify artisans as soon as possible. Their plan is to donate 50 hectares of land to the Matlosana Municipality for the construction of an educational institution that will start with Gr1 right up to Tertiary Education, with hostel facilities for the learners.


When John Fraser (Corporate Communications Manager) was asked who would have ever thought of this happening in the middle of nowhere? he wittingly answered UraniumOne is not in the Middle of Nowhere; it is in the Middle of Somewhere! 


Carnation Farm Auction Attracts Enthusiastic Bunch of Buyers


IT was carnation time at Aucor’s multi property sale in Inanda on 14 September, when what is said to be the country’s largest carnation farm was sold amid colourful displays of bouquets of carnations.  

Described as rare business opportunity, the 18ha business and farm in Olifantsfontein includes 6,2ha of climate – controlled greenhouses and 12ha of undeveloped land. 


Before bidding started, buyers were treated to an excellent video presentation of the farm.   This must have stimulated bidding, for the auction kicked off with an opening bid of R10m and successive bids in multiples of R1m rapidly pushed up the hammer price to R22m.  


A six-storey building consisting of 30 two-and three- bedroom flats at the corner of Noord and OR Tambo streets, Klerksdorp, sold for R4,2m, described by auctioneer Eddie Winterstein as a fair price. Nine other properties in Klerksdorp and surrounding areas were withdrawn.  Other retail buildings on offer included a popular shopping centre in Edenvale. 






Twee van KHS se redenaars het op 11 September by die Interskoolse Redenaarskompetisie die gehoor en beoordelaars in so ‘n mate oortuig van hul standpunte dat hulle met die wentrofeë huis toe is.  In die afdeling Senior Seuns het Johan Ferreira sy standpunt oor plastiese chirurgie op ‘n baie eiesoortige manier gestel tot groot plesier van die gehoor.  Drikus Conradie weer, het in die afdeling vir Junior Seuns met die louere weggestap toe hy die 2010 Wêreldbeker Sokkertoernooi onder die loep geneem het.


KHS se twee meisies (elke skool kon net vier deelnemers inskryf), Trudie Kritzinger en Natasha Meyer, is onderskeidelik aangewys as naaswenner en in die derde plek.  Trudie (Junior Meisies) se mening is “Basta met Boelies!”  Sy meen ook dat die naam Boelie beter by ‘n snoesige brakkie as by iemand van die mensras pas.  Natasha is passievol oor Afrikaans en meen dat taalvariante ook ‘n kans verdien bo die uitgediende string ossewa-idome wat dikwels nog in ritse en ritse in taalhandboeke voorkom. 




Ms Shelley Wolhuter, a third year Art student at the Vaal University of Technolgy, had to do a Community Project as part of her Communication 3 syllabus.  She chose to do it at Nkagisang Primary School, where she would teach 10 learners art skills and how to make things that are both useful and beautiful, using objects that they can find almost anywhere. 


According to Shelley, the principal was a very friendly and helpful lady who invited her to do the project at her school.  When she met her, she was impressed by the beauty and pleasant personality of the lady.  She was given a classroom to work in, educators were on standby to offer help if any was needed, and the buildings and school grounds were very neat and attractive.  Little did Shelley realise who this lovely lady was.  When Shelley and her lecturer arrived at the school on 6 September, they were surprised at the very subdued atmosphere and the sad faces of educators and learners.  It was only after they had been told that the school had lost their principal that they realised that it was Mrs Nxamakele, wife of the previous Mayor of Matlosana.  


The shock of the news that they heard over the weekend was doubled by this tragic news.  They had never realised that the woman who had died was the wonderful principal they had met.  Because they had bound a special bond with some of the learners and teachers over the period of a few weeks, they shared the feeling of having experienced a personal loss.  Shelley and Mrs Jeanette van Rensburg, her lecturer, want to express their sincere sympathy to the educators and the learners and everyone who has known Mrs Nxamakele.  May the good memories comfort them in their sadness.




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