The company’s central focus is on the processing and recovery of precious metals from mine by-products, utilising state-of-the-art, South African National Accreditation System (SANAS) accredited laboratory facilities and cutting-edge treatment processes. These enable it to extract maximum value from materials such as activated carbon, contaminated carbon, gold-bearing carbon sludge, rubber mill liners, steel mill liners, and woodchips, which are purchased from reputable suppliers such as Harmony, Goldfields, AngloGold, and Sibanye Gold.
Rappa also buys semi-pure doré bars from various scrap metal dealers, which it refines into quality gold bullion for international trade.
Rappa Resources Chief Executive Officer Gary Bickerton is a professional accountant with 32 years of experience, including 14 years in the precious metals industry. He notes that gold is in high demand globally, given its wide range of applications in electronics, computers, jewellery, dentistry, aerospace, various award ceremonies, and as a trusted storer of value in financial markets.
“Gold remains South Africa’s single largest export item, with enormous significance to the country’s economic growth, currency strength, job creation and socio-economic development,” he says.
“Within this space, gold and metals extraction remains a highly specialised field. Our operations are vital to South Africa’s gold industry, bearing the responsibility for recycling precious metals-bearing materials and reducing overall ‘waste’ in the gold mining industry, while ensuring that the local economy receives full benefit in exchange for its mineral resources.”
Bickerton emphasises that Rappa Resources’ solid international reputation has been key to its success, carefully built over the years through experienced leadership, sound ethical values, and good corporate governance.
Depth of expertise
Rappa Resources, previously known as Waste Product Utilisation, is owned by majority shareholder Rappa Holdings (73.99%) – an investment holding company that is also the sole shareholder of both Knightsbridge Cobalt Corporation and 8 Mile Investments. The remaining 26.01% shareholding in Rappa Resources lies with the Rappa Resources Empowerment Fund, a Broad-Based Socio-Economic Empowerment (BBSEE) Trust created for the benefit of Rappa Resources employees.
The company is guided by a group of highly professional and experienced directors who are well-versed in leading large corporate businesses and managing the intricacies of the international precious metals trade. In addition to Bickerton, these include Chief Financial Officer Suzanne Geel, a chartered accountant with 16 years of experience; Precious Metals Procurement Officer Pieter Conradie, a commodities expert with over a decade’s experience in the field; and Independent Non-Executive Director Bheki Khumalo, an admitted attorney with over 20 years of experience gained in various metal and mining industries.
Bickerton states that it is the company’s depth of expertise that has enabled it to advance from strength to strength, despite the various challenges of the pandemic, growing the business’ annualised turnover by 133% within three years.
“Through leveraging our leadership’s knowledge of business and strategy, Rappa has built an extensive network of global clients, ranging from precious metal refineries to government-owned mining businesses. The company also enjoys close relationships in the trading of base metals, precious metal concentrates and gold bearing by-products.”
Responsible gold policies and practices
Bickerton explains that the gold industry is particularly vulnerable to criminal activities such as money laundering, terrorist financing, human rights abuse, and illegal gold mining. It therefore remains one of South Africa’s most heavily regulated sectors.
To safeguard its reputation, Rappa invests significant sums annually to prevent criminality in any part of its operations, and to ensure complete compliance with all relevant financial laws and regulations.
Notably, Rappa implemented a voluntary Responsible Sourcing Programme in 2013 in line with its ethical and governance principles.
This programme follows the five-step due diligence framework as set out in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development Guidelines, and requires Good Delivery List refiners to demonstrate their efforts to combat money laundering, terrorist financing, human rights abuses, and respect for the environment globally. Only refiners whose precious metals bars have been accredited by the London Bullion Market Association (LBMA) and have met the LBMA’s exacting standards for trading on the global over-the-counter market may appear on Rappa’s Good Delivery List.
In accordance with international standards, Rappa engages the services of an independent audit firm to conduct a reasonable assurance review on the company’s compliance with the LBMA’s Responsible Gold Guidance (RGG) for protecting the integrity of gold supply chains. Significantly, Rappa has always received unqualified reasonable assurance reports.
Furthermore, all responsible Rappa gold committee employees undergo annual internal training for identifying and reporting suspicious activities. The company additionally performs extensive Know Your Customer due diligence on all suppliers and customers, for example requesting license to trade in precious metals, tax clearance certificates, and meticulous record-keeping.
Rappa complies with all the requirements of the Precious Metals Act, 37 of 2005 (“the PMA”), as do its suppliers, who must hold a Precious Metals Refining License or a Precious Metals Beneficiation License. By ensuring that all suppliers are fully licenced and certified as authorised dealers under the PMA, Rappa continuously strives to ensure the reliability and legality of its gold.
Rappa Resources further offers various whistle-blowing mechanisms such as sealed boxes on its premises for staff to anonymously report any concerns, and a dedicated email address, which automatically forwards messages to the company’s Compliance Officer for further investigation.
“At Rappa Resources, we are fully committed to only doing business with suppliers that have passed our stringent due diligence review, according to the RGG. We also perform robust checks to ensure that all customers and suppliers are not involved with human rights violations or criminal activities.
“We pride ourselves on maintaining the highest ethical standards and closely complying with all applicable laws and regulations, which is how our organisation has built a reputable international standing and track record over the past three and a half decades,” concludes Bickerton. DM