Anglo American, has contributed R96 million towards the establishment of the first university in the Northern Cape which could make good a promise that the Sol Plaatje University will start operations in 2014.
In a statement released yesterday Anglo said it was partnering with the Department of Higher Education and Training, to launch the university planned for Kimberly. The company added that the contribution shows its commitment to South Africa and to a province which has hosted its mining ventures for more than 100 years.
Anglo has had an overbearing presence in the Northern Cape, firstly via its diamond mining subsidiary De Beers which started extracting diamonds from Kimberly 120 years ago. Anglo’s presence in the Northern Cape was resuscitated in the early 2000 when it took over the Sishen iron ore mining operation from the then state controlled entity Iscor now known as ArcelorMittal SA. The iron ore operation is organised under JSE listed entity Kumba Iron Ore.
In making the R94m contribution towards establishment of the Sol Plaajte University, Anglo has also shown a wish to give the new institution some focus on mining studies. It said a portion of the funds will go towards the construction of the administration building; conducting a feasibility study for the Centre of Excellence focused on courses related to the mining industry, further funding for the establishment of the Centre of Excellence over a five year period; and a contribution of land and buildings for future expansion projects.
Anglo said it acted in concert with its business units De Beers and Kumba Iron Ore to put together the R96 million contribution.
The plan to launch a university in the Northern Cape has been coming for a while after government saw the need to launch two new universities for the country. Another university is planned for the Mpumalanga Province.
Total capital and operational costs for the Sol Plaatje University are estimated to be R4.2 billion over the next 10 Years. Government has promised to launch the university with limited student numbers and focus in 2014 and then guide the university into incremental development. At launch the university will use existing buildings in Kimberly while government workout the plan to develop new premises. Once completed, the Sol Plaatje University will cater for over 5000 students.
The investment, said Anglo American will support the drive to introduce young people in the Northern Cape to the world of research, technology, computer sciences, agriculture, development science and engineering.
The Anglo announcement added that the Sishen Iron Ore Community Development Trust will also establish a R20 million bursary scheme created to benefit leaners from the Northern Cape and beyond, who are accepted to study at the university.
Barend Petersen, chairman of De Beers Consolidated Mines, said: “The mining industry has an indispensable role to play in supporting the development of the skills that society needs and education is the leading and integral part of Anglo American’s corporate social development strategy.
“Anglo American’s commitment and support to uplifting education has been widely recorded and is in line with the company’s objectives of partnering for best effect. This is achieved through educational development and co-operative agreements that not only meet government’s goals and objectives but make a real difference in the communities associated with all our operations.”