We speak to Shammy Luvhengo, CEO of Ndalamo Resources, as he reflects upon the company’s evolution and explores its environmental goals for coal production in South Africa.
GROWING A SMALL SEED INTO SUSTAINABLE ROOTS
As a 100 percent black-owned mid-tier coal producer, Ndalamo Resources focuses on investment opportunities in the South African mining sector. The company was established in 2013 by amalgamating various mining and financial sectors with sustainable, socially responsible professionals and entrepreneurs.
The impetus for Ndalamo Resources arose from the requirements of a black community empowerment charter. Now in its 10th year, the company has evolved from an investment enterprise to the fully operational business it is today. The company began with the acquisition of New Clydesdale Colliery from Exxaro; it then became the partner for Universal Coal. Strategically, the two companies decided to consolidate all black economic interests within one, eventually emerging as Ndalamo Resources.
“It all happened over the last 10 years. We have grown through acquiring mines from Exxaro and other projects. That is how the company was formed, and I am proud we will soon be celebrating our 10th anniversary.
“We have the internal skills technically, corporately, financially, and otherwise where we are now a functioning coal mining company. Obviously, we are trying to grow our footprint to be much bigger than it currently is,” introduces Shammy Luvhengo, CEO of Ndalamo Resources.
Partnering with Universal Coal, in a 51/49 percent split in favour of Ndalamo Resources, there are presently two actively operating mines, and one in care and maintenance and the other a prospecting project called Eloff, which will be operational in the next six months, and the Arnot South project.
With 25 members of staff currently employed by Ndalamo Resources, the wider operations have indirectly created employment opportunities for around 4,000 people, including contractors within the three operations. Additionally, the company is making fortuitous strides within the community in terms of projects and ecological commitments.
The Eloff project is reopening subject to utility provider Eskom, the largest electricity producer in Africa, committing to the coal sale agreement. Despite the present uncertainty, Luvhengo is excited to return to Delmas, a small town in the Mpumalanga Province, to continue Ndalamo Resources’ investment efforts and uplift and empower the local community.
“It can be a big project; we need to get the right synergies on the logistics side. It is one of the most extensive resources in the area, close to all of the towns in Springs Coal Field, and we intend to make it much more of a larger scale operation going forward,” he reveals.
It is a project that Luvhengo is particularly proud of, and one that Ndalamo Resources is more likely to implement in the near future. Of course, the company is also honoured to be involved with various community projects.
“Most of what we are currently working on regarding the neighbourhood is intertwined with what our mines are doing. We pride ourselves on being the first company to establish community-based trucking initiatives where we uplift local entrepreneurs and enable them to have long-term trucking contracts within our operating mines.”
All projects are managed sustainably, which Luvhango feels is one of the best initiatives to come out of the coal industry. Sustainability is part of the company’s DNA, especially when Ndalamo Resources began work in Delmas.
“We definitely want communities to have much more exposure and benefits out of where we operate, not just superficially, but in literal good terms.”
COMMITTED TO CHANGE
Environmental objectives for Ndalamo Resources are closely tied to the energy transition. Any obligations are premised on the fact that the company operates within the mining sphere and that excavation and extraction are achieved in the most ecologically responsible and sensitive manner.
“We are the company that takes environmental management very seriously, to the point where part of our performance must be about how we have mined and still looked after the environment. That means we need to be active and obedient in running our rehabilitation processes; it cannot be an afterthought, but part of the business imperative,” Luvhengo outlines.
It was late last year when Ndalamo Resources established a green energy business that must be profitable in the long run. That helped the company chase carbon neutrality – its target regarding sustainability and climate change.
“Our aim is to ensure that we are carbon neutral in the next 10 years according to our latest environmental, social, and governance (ESG) framework. We are ESG conscious and have commissioned our first ESG report that sets the targets which will become part of our business targets as we advance,” he adds.
Alongside sustainability and community projects, the key principles of broad-based black economic empowerment (B-BBEE) also guide Ndalamo Resources’ commitments.
“I was pleasantly surprised that where we are operational, we received Level 1 certification in terms of B-BBEE Department: Trade Industry and Competition (DTIC) codes of good practice for the past financial year,” says Luvhengo optimistically.
Ndalamo Resources has a genuine and balanced approach when it comes to doing the best it can in business in terms of empowerment from a broad-based perspective and sustainable development, regarding how the company onboards suppliers, monitors this onboarding, and helps them develop into sustainable businesses going forward.
“Our initiatives have gotten us to the top spot, and I think it’s a measure of much work that the team has to put in to ensure we find ourselves a Level 1 supplier,” expresses Luvhengo.
Priorities for the year ahead include Ndalamo Resources becoming a respected mining business based in South Africa with a global reach, offering various commodities in addition to coal.
“We definitely want to achieve 10 to 15 million tonnes per year in coal sales, hopefully adding one or two other commodities to that,” Luvhengo outlines.
Primary objectives include creating sustainable value for all stakeholders alongside equity providers, employees, and communities. Furthermore, Ndalamo Resources’ plans for growth mean retaining profit margins through focused cost-cutting interventions.
Growth will also be achieved by acquiring and consolidating adjacent assets that have a strategic fit.
“Organic production growth will additionally come from our existing assets by increasing sales out of the North Block Complex, New Clydesdale Colliery, and Eloff-Kangala Extension, as well as introducing new investment opportunities into the business and diversifying out of coal into other commodities,” shares Luvhengo.
A mission closer to home is to provide socio-economic development opportunities for Ndalamo Resources’ employees, empowering previously disadvantaged members of host communities with skills to advance in areas of the company’s operations with technical and business development through mentoring and coaching.
“We want to be a company that attracts the best skills for black people in the market and is known for giving people an opportunity to show their talent to create an atmosphere where people can excel in what we bring them here to do,” Luvhengo explains.
Upskilling current employees in areas where improvement is needed is important to Ndalamo Resources as it gives the workforce an opportunity they never thought they would have, by ensuring that any progress is monitored; moreover, guiding them towards various career paths within the organisation is equally as crucial.
Ndalamo Resources recognises that with stakeholder interactions, it is able to achieve the goal of developing sustainably and contributing constructively to society.