- Year Founded: 1956
- Key Founding Individuals: Established as a joint venture between Rio Tinto (formerly RTZ) and Newmont Mining Corporation
- Key People: Jinghua Han, Chairman & CEO; Johan van Dyke, GM Operations
- Mined Resources: Copper Ore
- Operational Regions: Africa, United States, United Kingdom, Singapore
South Africa’s only producer of refined copper, Palabora Mining Company (PMC) concentrates on an open pit mine and associated underground mines of the unique mineral formation called the Palabora Igneous Complex. The company operates a mine, smelter complex and refinery in the province of Limpopo, and employs over 2000 people, producing continuous cast rod for the South African market. The mine has a daily production capacity of 30,000 tonnes of ore. Additional commercial by-products include nickel sulphate, zirconium chemicals, magnetite. and (in small amounts), gold, silver and platinum.
Approximately two billion years ago, intense volcanic activity created a mineral-rich outcrop, which was utilised for copper production from as early as the eight century. In 1956, during the early growth of a modern community and mining industry at Palabora, PMC was incorporated to work the mine. The life of the mine has been extended, despite intensive production, by new and innovative mining techniques. One if its founding conglomerates, Rio Tinto Group, retains a leading role in the company (with 57% of the stock). Other significant investors include Anglo American PLC (17%).
The company's core objective is: ‘To extract and convert minerals and metal from the Palabora ore body, safely and profitably.’ Additional objectives include being a leader in the mining industry through performance; to have a profitable long term plan, based on Life of Mine extension projects; to improve continuously; to attract specialized talent; to earn the support of the community; to ensure zero harm and preserve the environment.
These latter three goals arise in particular from the awareness of the importance of the nearby Kruger National Park for South Africa’s eco-tourism industry.
PMC therefore has plans for the responsible consumption of natural resources, the prevention of pollution and the restoration of the environment for land use. The firm regularly updates its plan for the eventual closure of the mine, in order to manage the social and environmental impact. This is carried out in consultation with local communities.