South Africa

Thabazimbi Mine

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Mine TypeStockpile
  • Iron Ore
Mining Method
  • Truck & Shovel / Loader
SnapshotOpen pit operations at Thabazimbi ceased in 2016, and the mine is currently only engaged in the rehandling of iron ore from stockpiles of ROM material from historical production.

Thabazimbi iron ore mine had been slated to supply Vanderbijlpark with some 360 000 tonnes of iron ore from 2023 using beneficiated stockpiles. However, full projected production is expected to be achieved in Q1 2024 after production problems were experienced in 2023. In December 2022, production was halted because the mine’s slimes dam did not comply with the Global Industry Standard on Tailings Management, to which ArcelorMittal South Africa is a signatory. In July, after compliance was achieved, production began to ramp up, averaging 23 000 tonnes per month with the first shipments of iron ore being receiv ed at Vanderbijlpark in October.


ArcelorMittal SA 100 % Indirect
The Thabazimbi mine is captive mine of ArcelorMittal South Africa (AMSA) steel. AMSA took full ownership of the Thabazimbi operations from Kumba Iron Ore in November 2018

Deposit type

  • Banded iron formation


Thabazimbi mine is located in the Limpopo province close to the town of Thabazimbi.

The iron ore at the Thabazimbi Mine consists of high-grade haematite (Fe2O3) which occurs in the basal parts of the Penge Formation and is underlain by the chert-poor dolomite of the Frisco Formation.

The Penge formation is usually in conformable contact with the underlying Malmani Subgroup and is composed mainly of gruneritic-banded chert with interbedded carbonaceous shale. However, at the Thabazimbi Mine the chert-rich basal part of the Penge Formation is missing. The basal unit of the Penge Formation therefore unconformably overlies the Malmani Subgroup and is most likely due to normal faulting in the Thabazimbi area.

Ore genesis is of a chemical nature, where secondary Haematite replaced chert within the BIF. Later stages of ferruginisation followed to produce high-grade laminated to brecciated iron ore. The occurrence of iron ore is structurally controlled, with faults serving firstly as conduits for iron-rich fluids and later as mechanisms for displacing (and/or duplicating) ore zones.

Local collapse structures within the underlying dolomites produced brecciated zones within the BIF, which were then filled by iron-rich fluids. A regional network of diabase sills and dykes served as trapping mechanisms for mineralising fluids in the lower section of the BIF, which resulted in an enriched lower section and a less-enriched upper section of the Penge Formation.

Generally speaking, the deposits dip southwards at an angle of approximately 45°. At depth the Haematite-rich rocks grade into Calcite Haematite and Talc-Haematite rocks. The mineralisation extends for 12km along strike; however, sterile gaps of BIF occur in between the deposits.

The occurrence of sterile zones between deposits is associated with faulting, where the ore zones wedge out laterally and vary in thickness from 10m to 25m. The intensity of ferruginisation is usually associated with the intensity of brecciation of the BIF due to the underlying karst topography of the dolomites.

The Vanderbijl iron ore deposit at Thabazimbi, for which the resources are estimated, is located on the northern margin of the Transvaal sub-basin. The Transvaal Supergroup was deposited in an open marine sedimentary basin developed on the Kaapvaal Craton within fluvial, deltaic to marine depositional environments. The iron ore deposits are developed at or close to the transitional contact zone of the combined footwall dolomites and upper transitional shale beds (including the overlying ˜15 m thick chert-rich shale layer) of the Malmani Subgroup and the overlying BIFs of the Penge Formation.



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Mining Methods


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Crushers and Mills

Milling equipment has not been reported.



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Iron Ore Mt  ....  Subscribe0.41.4

Production Costs

Commodity production costs have not been reported.


Revenue M ZAR
EBITDA M ZAR -63   -56  

Heavy Mobile Equipment

Fleet data has not been reported.


Mine Management

Job TitleNameProfileRef. Date
....................... Subscription required ....................... Subscription required Subscription required Mar 27, 2024
....................... Subscription required ....................... Subscription required Subscription required Mar 27, 2024

EmployeesContractorsTotal WorkforceYear
...... Subscription required ...... Subscription required ...... Subscription required 2020
...... Subscription required ...... Subscription required ...... Subscription required 2017
...... Subscription required ...... Subscription required ...... Subscription required 2016
...... Subscription required ...... Subscription required ...... Subscription required 2015
...... Subscription required ...... Subscription required ...... Subscription required 2014

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