RocketDNA signs South32 contract in South Africa for drone surveying

(Image source: South32.) South32's South Africa Manganese operation.
(Image source: South32.) South32’s South Africa Manganese operation.

RocketDNA Ltd (ASX: RKT) has signed a five-year contract with South32 (ASX: S32) via Hotazel Manganese Mines (PTY) LTD in South Africa for drone surveying services at two mine sites.

The contract is with RocketDNA’s subsidiary, Rocketmine (Pty) Ltd, valued at $1.18m and annual recurring revenue of $236,000.

South32’s manganese operation in South Africa is located in the Kalahari Basin, home to 80% of the world’s manganese.

It is made up of the Metalloys manganese alloy smelter in Meyerton, Gauteng, which remains in care and maintenance, the open-cut Mamatwan mine and the underground Wessels mine.

South32 reported increased production at its South Africa manganese operation by 5% year-to-date to 1.522mt in its recent March quarterly report and remains on-track to achieve FY23 guidance of 2mt.

The mining company’s Australia manganese arm achieved record production in the nine months to March 2023 at 4.198mt, compared with 3.963mt at the same time last year.

“Manganese ore production has increased by six per cent year-on-year, with Australian manganese achieving record production,” said South32 chief executive Graham Kerr.

RocketDNA, formerly Delta Drone International Limited, is a global drone-based data service and technology solutions provider for the mining, agriculture and engineering industries.

Services provided include aerial surveying and mapping, security and surveillance, as well as blast monitoring and fragment analysis through a fully-outsourced service with artificial intelligence (AI).