Friday, March 23, 2018
Mike Nunn

Mike Nunn


IN the war that environmental activists are waging on new mines, Kropz is treading on very delicate ground. Its R1.35bn Elandsfontein phosphate mine under construction – and currently delayed because of unfavourable prices – is close to the boundary of the West Coast National Park. Environmentalists are deeply anxious about the effects of noise, dust and water pollution. Kropz points out that it is outside the buffer zone for the park and it’s taking protective measures anyway, given the environmental sensitivity of the area. Besides, Kropz argued, phosphates are used to make fertilisers, so this mine will contribute to food security. Kropz’s partner in Elandsfontein is Patrice Motsepe’s African Rainbow Capital and Nunn, Kropz’s founder, has a track record of successful – and not-so-successful – mining ventures as well as some philanthropy. His mining interests have stretched far and wide, from precious gems to coal and mining services and, in the past, he has challenged arbitrary decisions by the Zimbabwean government. He is best-known in South Africa as the founder of TanzaniteOne, which secured the world’s only source of the deep-blue gemstone and listed on London’s AIM. Nunn has also drafted in his one time colleague from Tanzanite One – Ian Harebottle – to work as CEO for Kropz. The two have big plans.


He is more philanthropic than most miners, having grown up in orphanages in the UK. He started a charitable foundation in Tanzania to benefit the local community, another called Jeluka4Good which helps children, and a third called the Greenheart Foundation, which has been ploughing money into education and drug and alcohol rehabilitation in the Saldanha area. He has a house in Monaco.