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DICTATOR OF MINERAL RESOURCES

By: Martin Creamer     2nd December 2016 The Department of Mineral Resources (DMR) can with justification now be referred to as the Dictator of Mineral Resources. Since the DMR’s sudden departure from the labour, business and government tripartite arrangement, nobody can get anything out of it, not even Parliament. It is hell-bent on... 

DICTATOR OF MINERAL RESOURCES

MINE STOPPAGE STOPPED

By: Martin Creamer     25th November 2016 A judge of the Labour Court has ruled that the errant Department of Mineral Resources (DMR) should desist from using sledgehammers to crack nuts. In decrying the irrational manner in which the DMR inspectorate has been closing entire mines without valid reason, judge André van Niekerk also noted... 

MINE STOPPAGE STOPPED

REHABILITATION CONSTERNATION:

By: Martin Creamer     18th November 2016 The management of the rehabilitation guarantees that mining companies are legally obliged to lodge needs to be interrogated in the light of former Public Protector Thuli Madonsela’s observation that the Department of Mineral Resources (DMR) has allowed Gupta coal mining company Tegeta to bank the... 

REHABILITATION CONSTERNATION:

PLATINUM BULLS WAKING UP

By: Martin Creamer     11th November 2016 The platinum bears are starting to call on the platinum bulls to awake from their slumber and begin putting in a bullish shift. Bloomberg reports that a couple of South Africa’s biggest fund managers are betting on higher future platinum prices. With platinum mining going ex-growth, a regaining... 

PLATINUM BULLS WAKING UP

SHARING MINING'S PAIN AND GAIN

By: Martin Creamer     4th November 2016 As African Mining Network guest speaker, Bobby Godsell last week identified sharing risk and reward, pain and gain as a necessary feature of future successful mining on the African continent. As mining follows exploration, the former AngloGold Ashanti CEO and outgoing Business Leadership South... 

SHARING MINING'S PAIN AND GAIN

PLUNGING PLATINUM

By: Martin Creamer     28th October 2016 Who would have thought that the platinum price was going to fall back into the $900/oz range, particularly against the backdrop of the World Platinum Investment Council foreseeing the supply deficit widening to 520 000 oz this year. Many were assuming that the platinum price would move up above... 

PLUNGING PLATINUM

FOURTH INDUSTRIAL REVOLUTION

By: Darlene Creamer     21st October 2016 The word digitisation in the lips of speakers at conferences. The term 4.0 has been popping up, a reference to the fourth industrial revolution, a harbinger of the notion of the total connectivity of mining businesses across the supply chain, with mineworkers potentially knowing as much as... 

LOUSY LEGACY

By: Martin Creamer     14th October 2016 At last week’s Joburg Indaba, Cadiz Corporate Solutions mining policy consultant Peter Major described the conference’s session on the legacy issues left by the South African mining industry as the scariest of the two days. He said he found the gap between mining companies on the one hand and... 

LOUSY LEGACY

INVESTMENT DROUGHT

By: Darlene Creamer     7th October 2016 South Africa is unable to attract investment. In addition to the mining cycle being down, the country is also at the wrong end of the weighted average cost of capital (WACC) yardstick, mainly because of poor government policy. Southern African Institute of Mining and Metallurgy mineral economics... 

INVESTMENT DROUGHT

NEGATIVELY TILTED

By: Darlene Creamer     30th September 2016 In mining, the peaks are supposed to be high and troughs low, but with the overall mining picture still being negatively tilted for the past eight years, the days of stronger-for-longer seem part of the distant past. Being a low-cost producer is now regarded as being absolutely essential to... 

NEGATIVELY TILTED

BACK IN REVERSE

By: Martin Creamer     23rd September 2016 ANZ Research senior commodity strategist Daniel Hynes says that when the price of a commodity rises by 117% in a mere 15 weeks, as the price of metallurgical coal did, it is generally a sign of something being amiss. What happened was  Chinese coking coal output fell and that plus a tight... 

BACK IN REVERSE

PLATINUM CLIFF

By: Martin Creamer     16th September 2016 Outgoing Implats CEO Terence Goodlace can see a platinum supply cliff ahead, concurring Northam Platinum CEO Paul Dunne has put growth projects in place to supply into the rising price environment market the supply shortage will create and the World Platinum Investment Council foresees a 2016 in... 

PLATINUM CLIFF

THE ROCKET TAKES OFF

By: Martin Creamer     9th September 2016 The ‘R’ in DRDGold stands for Roodepoort, which led to DRDGold being nicknamed the Roodepoort Rocket, because the DRDGold share price took off every time the gold price ticked up. It started doing that again following last year’s Nenegate and then after this year’s Brexit. It did so to such an... 

THE ROCKET TAKES OFF

DEMANDING TO COME THROUGH

By: Martin Creamer     2nd September 2016 Is commodity demand slowly beginning to get the upper hand? Ivan Glasenberg, the CEO of mining and marketing company Glencore, has for long contended that the problem is not on the demand side but on the over-supply side. “Demand’s there,” Glasenberg told Mining Weekly last week. “The problem is... 

DEMANDING TO COME THROUGH

IN FOR A 'GRYLLING'

By: Martin Creamer     26th August 2016 In an unprecedented move, two mining companies are being singled out for special tax treatment by Western Australian political party leader Brendon Grylls, who has been officially sworn in as leader of the WA Nationals party. Grylls has ruffled feathers by announcing he wants to introduce a $5/t... 

IN FOR A 'GRYLLING'

ADDING PEP TO THE SPARKLE

By: Martin Creamer     19th August 2016 Christo Wiese, a name synonymous Pep Stores, is part of the consortium of investors taking control of Trans Hex, the Johannesburg Stock Exchange-listed diamond-mining company. Interestingly, before Wiese’s time with Pep, the current Shoprite chairperson was involved with Octha diamonds. If one... 

ADDING PEP TO THE SPARKLE

GOLDEN OPPORTUNITY

By: Martin Creamer     12th August 2016 With the gold is still 41% below the levels seen in 2011, Sharps Pixley CEO Ross Norman sees a golden opportunity to buy gold now. What South African gold miners are finding an even bigger golden opportunity is mining gold now, which in rands is fetching record prices above the R600 000/kg level.... 

GOLDEN OPPORTUNITY

THINK ZINC

By: Martin Creamer     5th August 2016 Unloved for so long, zinc is back in fashion, with investors showing great affection for the bluish-white lustrous metallic element. Used to galvanise and protect steel from corrosion, zinc has jumped 40% this year to make it the best-performing industrial metal, according to Bloomberg. Currently... 

THINK ZINC

SPROUTING WINGS

By: Martin Creamer     29th July 2016 The world is doing what has been its custom throughout the centuries. It falls back on the only real way of preserving buying power. It buys gold. Little wonder that the global gold holdings of exchange-traded funds (ETFs) are topping the 2 000 t mark for the first time in three years. There is a... 

SPROUTING WINGS

BUBBLE TROUBLE

By: Martin Creamer     22nd July 2016 Former Federal Reserve luminary Alan Greenspan famously coined the term "irrational exuberance" in referring to asset bubbles, which occur when large overvaluations of assets balloon and then end in grief. Resource Maven newsletter writer Gwen Preston claims in an interview with Mining Weekly... 

BUBBLE TROUBLE

DOLLARS FROM HEAVEN

By: Martin Creamer     15th July 2016 Dollars are falling from the sky into the gold sector. Global gold holdings in exchange traded funds (ETFs) have topped 2 000 t for the first time since June 2013, which Sharps Pixley-reported commentator Tyler Durden calculates is equal to Switzerland’s gold holdings times two and a quarter of... 

DOLLARS FROM HEAVEN

GOLDEN BLASTOFF

By: Martin Creamer     8th July 2016 Gold, which has risen 25% this year, is holding on to its Brexit gains, as investors make use of its safe haven status to keep it above the $1 300/oz mark. Schroders fund managers Mark Lacey and James Luke emphasise that gold equities in particular are offering a compelling investment case. They... 

GOLDEN BLASTOFF

HYDROCARBONS STANDOFF

By: Martin Creamer     1st July 2016 A tug of hydrocarbons love could well play itself out in the next few months as two government departments vie for the control of upstream oil and gas regulation. While the Department of Energy (DoE) seems tailor-made for the job, the Department of Mineral Resources (DMR) is proceeding on the... 

HYDROCARBONS STANDOFF

BACK FROM THE BRINK

By: Martin Creamer     24th June 2016 In October last year, 120 people assembled for five weeks to develop a strategy for South Africa’s beleaguered mining industry. They did so under the banner of Phakisa or Hurry Up and one of this initiative’s tangible outcomes has been the reopening of the old Comro mining research organisation.... 

BACK FROM THE BRINK

THE REVERSE OF A CURSE

By: Martin Creamer     17th June 2016 The African National Congress (ANC) appears to have let up on its previous firm demand that the Mining Charter be enforced by an Act of Parliament. The approach was viewed by the mining industry as conferring legislative powers on the executive in violating the rule of law. This set the private... 

THE REVERSE OF A CURSE

NEW MINDSET IN THE MAKING

By: Martin Creamer     10th June 2016 The African Union (AU) is to launch an African Minerals Development Centre so as to ensure that African governments are better equipped to negotiate better mining and exploration terms and contracts. AU chairperson Dr Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma told last week’s Junior Indaba in Johannesburg that the... 

NEW MINDSET IN THE MAKING

DIAMOND EXCHANGE

By: Martin Creamer     3rd June 2016 Philippe Mellier, who will be 61 this year, is passing the De Beers baton on to CEO-designate Bruce Cleaver, who is ten years his junior, but with twice the years’ service at the world’s biggest diamond producer by value. Cleaver co-acted as De Beers CEO  between Gareth Penny’s departure and... 

DIAMOND EXCHANGE

PROXIMATE PLATINUM PROBLEM

By: Martin Creamer     27th May 2016 The latest set of financial results of platinum mining company Lonmin had the company turning the corner. The share price rose sharply as cash flowed on higher platinum sales. But Lonmin CEO Ben Magara was quick to remind shareholders of the platinum industry’s next challenge of new wage talks... 

PROXIMATE PLATINUM PROBLEM

GOLDEN DEMAND:

By: Martin Creamer     20th May 2016 Gold demand has been hitting highs, with first-quarter demand at 1 290 t, a 21% year-on-year increase and the second-highest quarterly demand on record. The World Gold Council puts the higher demand down to big inflows into exchange-traded funds (ETFs), fuelled by investor concern about economic... 

GOLDEN DEMAND:

STUCK IN THE MUD

By: Martin Creamer     13th May 2016 The shares of BHP Billiton, the world’s biggest mining company, had their worst day in more than seven years last week when the news broke that the Brazilian Federal Public Prosecution Service had launched a A$43-billion legal case against it and Vale over the massive slimes dam burst at the... 

STUCK IN THE MUD

WHY THE STRAIGHT JACKET, MINISTER?

By: Martin Creamer     6th May 2016 The vast bulk of mining company shareholdings – probably more than 95%, particularly in respect of larger companies – are not owned by individuals or their companies, but by huge pension funds and provident funds, local and foreign. These shares, along with those held individually by South... 

WHY THE STRAIGHT JACKET, MINISTER?

STABBED IN THE BACK

By: Darlene Creamer     29th April 2016 New Minerals Minister Mosebenzi Zwane chose to take the mining industry by surprise when he unilaterally gazetted a revised Mining Charter without consulting a soul in mainstream mining. If his objective is to halt investment and retard the South African economy, then he will have achieved it... 

STABBED IN THE BACK

THE R25 THAT AVERTED A STRIKE

By: Martin Creamer     22nd April 2016 The Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (AMCU) demanded big on the platinum belt – R12 500 a month entry level wage or the strike would continue. And it did, for five long months. In gold, AMCU has been infinitely more moderate and its strike threats exceedingly short-lived. An... 

THE R25 THAT AVERTED A STRIKE

GOLDEN GENUFLECTIONS

By: Martin Creamer     15th April 2016 Collective gold wage agreements have been thrown into disarray with the sidelines agreement struck by the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (AMCU) and Sibanye Gold. The National Union of Mineworkers, Solidarity and UASA unions are feeling sore that the three-year deal they struck... 

GOLDEN GENUFLECTIONS

LEGAL PROBE

By: Martin Creamer     8th April 2016 A US law firm is reportedly taking steps to build a class-action lawsuit against the world’s biggest mining company. Business Wire reports that Lundin Law is urging investors with losses to contact it regarding possible violations of federal securities laws by BHP Billiton. The wire service adds... 

LEGAL PROBE

THE LONG WAIT

By: Martin Creamer     1st April 2016 The price of the basket of platinum-group metals (PGMs) in dollars is so low that even when converted into rands, it is still way off that of its precious metal cousin, gold, which has not only increased in dollars, but also moved into record territory in rands. Regrettably, the dollar prices of... 

THE LONG WAIT

IRON-WILLED, IRON-FISTED

By: Martin Creamer     25th March 2016 A bitter fight is under way Down Under over the deliberate over-supply of iron-ore by major producers as a way of crushing competitors. But all that has been crushed, say smaller iron-ore producers, is the Australian economy. Cliffs Natural Resources CE Laurenco Goncalves pulled no punches at the... 

IRON-WILLED, IRON-FISTED

TRUCULENT TAX TERRIER

By: Martin Creamer     18th March 2016 The South African Revenue Service (Sars) is digging up the past and imposing sky-high tax assessments on objecting mining companies. Sars first bit Kumba Iron Ore’s Sishen Iron Ore Company, on which it imposed a R5.5-billion assessment. Now the truculent tax terrier has locked its jaws on Exxaro,... 

TRUCULENT TAX TERRIER
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