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BAD IDEA

By: Darlene Creamer     21st February 2020 While State-owned enterprises (SOEs) are crashing and burning all around us, Mineral Resources and Energy Minister Gwede Mantashe’s big hairy audacious goal for overcoming the failures of our largest SOE, Eskom, is . . . wait for it: to set up another power-generation SOE as a back-up to Eskom!... 

BAD IDEA

CARPET OR RUG?

By: Darlene Creamer     14th February 2020 Mineral Resources and Energy Minister Gwede Mantashe got pulses racing for the right and wrong reasons earlier this month. Firstly, he indicated that he was finally ready to roll-out the red carpet for self-generation projects by amending Schedule 2 of the Electricity Regulation Act to make it... 

CARPET OR RUG?

NO WORKLOAD SHEDDING:

By: Terence Creamer     7th February 2020 There will be no honeymoon period for Eskom’s new CEO, Andre de Ruyter. South Africans are beyond frustrated at the poor performance of the State-owned power utility and irritated by the prospect of not only having their taxes used to bail-out the entity, but for such injections to be accompanied... 

NO WORKLOAD SHEDDING:

DELICATE OPERATION

By: Darlene Creamer     31st January 2020 On February 26, all eyes will be on Finance Minister Tito Mboweni when he delivers the 2020 Budget. No doubt, National Treasury officials are working tirelessly and with surgical precision to ensure that the Budget operation (consolidation with the least pain possible) is not only a success, but... 

DELICATE OPERATION

HIGH YIELD:

By: Martin Creamer     24th January 2020 Top of Anglo American’s mind in bidding for London-listed Sirius Minerals is planet earth’s need for greater crop yield from less farmland. Anglo sees an opportunity to achieve this by turning Sirius’ polyhalite project in the UK to positive account and then selling the multi-nutrient fertiliser... 

HIGH YIELD:

NO ESCAPE

By: Darlene Creamer     17th January 2020 The wreck of South Africa’s ‘lost decade’ looms large in the rear-view mirror as we enter the 2020s. The country’s ‘decade horribilis’ was characterised by load-shedding, which sapped confidence and undermined growth, gratuitous corruption, which ripped at the very fabric of society, and the... 

NO ESCAPE

COAL BURNERS:

By: Martin Creamer     13th December 2019 Big burners of coal should be forced to prevent emissions from carbonising and risking human health. Those who fail to do so should face the full might of even the inadequate laws in place, coupled with strong civic denunciation and protest. Clean renewables are now the undisputed harbingers of... 

COAL BURNERS:

BITTER TASTE

By: Darlene Creamer     13th December 2019 In what is arguably the biggest corporate scandal since Steinhoff, several former Tongaat Hulett executives have been fingered in what appears to amount to accounting fraud. This “undesirable accounting” has been confirmed through a PwC forensic investigation, which is likely to result in the... 

BITTER TASTE

EMISSIONS MUST BE ELIMINATED:

By: Martin Creamer     6th December 2019 Effective emission control is the only thing that is going to ensure ongoing demand for thermal coal in today’s climate-conscious world. The US Energy Information Administration reports the six main problem coal-burning emissions as sulphur dioxide, which the administration says contributes to... 

EMISSIONS MUST BE ELIMINATED:

CLOCK IS TICKING

By: Darlene Creamer     6th December 2019 There is growing frustration at the lack of progress in initiating bidding processes for the procurement of new electricity generation. Despite the fact that the Cabinet-endorsed Integrated Resource Plan 2019 (IRP 2019) outlines an urgent need for between 2 000 MW and 3 000 MW to address a gap... 

CLOCK IS TICKING

BHP OPTS FOR BALL RETENTION:

By: Martin Creamer     29th November 2019 In the 1990s diversified mining company BHP was doing so badly that its BHP acronym was downgraded to Broken Hearted People. The company was so diverse at that stage that it was even trying its hand in gold in West Africa and in platinum in Zimbabwe’s Great Dyke. But its switch to a narrower oil... 

BHP OPTS FOR BALL RETENTION:

SUSTAINABILITY TAILSPIN

By: Darlene Creamer     29th November 2019 For two decades, possibly even longer, South African Airways’ (SAA’s) operational and financial sustainability has been highly questionable. Various turnaround strategies have been attempted but, in the end, it was always left to the taxpayer to foot the bill when these failed. That was a costly... 

SUSTAINABILITY TAILSPIN

CURRENCY CAPER:

By: Martin Creamer     22nd November 2019 Paying for operating costs in weak currency and receiving payment for the product the operation produces in hard currency can have major financial benefits. For example, the current gold price is attractive in US dollars but even more so in South African rands. Or, to put it another way, gold... 

CURRENCY CAPER:

SALDANHA SHUTDOWN

By: Darlene Creamer     22nd November 2019 ArcelorMittal South Africa announced this month that it would be placing the Saldhana Steel mill on care and maintenance. The decision was attributed to a steady erosion of the input cost advantages on which the facility was originally built. Saldanha, the company said, had incurred substantial... 

SALDANHA SHUTDOWN

LET IT SHINE IN:

By: Martin Creamer     15th November 2019 Advanced industry, banks and natural resources have contributed to making South Africa a significant economy on the African continent. But to bring power to the remotest corners of the country, to maintain its economic growth momentum and grow ‘green’, South Africa must accelerate the adoption of... 

LET IT SHINE IN:

TIME FOR KICK-OFF

By: Darlene Creamer     15th November 2019 During 2019, South Africans arguably came to terms with the damage caused by State capture to the country’s economic playing field, as well as its key players. It became clear that repairing the pitch and revitalising our damaged economic muscle would take longer, and be more painful, than... 

TIME FOR KICK-OFF

COAL PASSING ON THE BATON TO RENEWABLES:

By: Martin Creamer     8th November 2019 Many far-sighted coal company managers predicted that coal would, over time, pass on the energy baton to renewables, but few emphasised that this would be for compelling business reasons. Now renewables are coming in at below R1/kWh, which leaves coal and nuclear in their dust. There is longer... 

COAL PASSING ON THE BATON TO RENEWABLES:

WATER WORRIES

By: Darlene Creamer     8th November 2019 Following an extremely dry start to the rainy season in the north-eastern parts of the country and with ongoing drought conditions in other regions, concerns over water security are increasing. Human Settlements, Water and Sanitation Minister Lindiwe Sisulu has urged South Africans to urgently... 

WATER WORRIES

HYDROGEN PROMISING NEW FUTURE:

By: Martin Creamer     1st November 2019 Robert Boyle produced it in 1671; Henry Cavendish recognised it as a distinct element in 1766; French chemist Antoine Lavoisier named it as an element in water; and science fiction writer Jules Verne ordained it as an inexhaustible source of potential energy in 1874. Now, 145 years later,... 

HYDROGEN PROMISING NEW FUTURE:

INCONVENIENT TRUTH

By: Darlene Creamer     1st November 2019 The fact that South Africa has not procured any new electricity capacity from independent power producers since 2014 is biting. Despite absolutely no demand growth for a decade, the country is failing to keep the lights on largely because Eskom’s undermaintained coal fleet is unable to operate... 

INCONVENIENT TRUTH

PULL UP THE PEOPLE, COOL DOWN THE PLANET:

By: Martin Creamer     25th October 2019 PULL UP THE PEOPLE, COOL DOWN THE PLANET: The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (Unctad) has made the case for a ‘Global Green New Deal’, which it says will not only support climate stabilisation, but will also help to stimulate economic growth and create jobs. Unctad economist... 

PULL UP THE PEOPLE, COOL DOWN THE PLANET:

WRESTLING OVER REVENUE

By: Darlene Creamer     25th October 2019 For years, Eskom has been unhappy with the way the Energy Regulator has been applying the methodology used for calculating the State-owned utility’s allowable revenue. This calculation is highly contested by various stakeholders, as it is used to determine Eskom’s tariff adjustments. For years,... 

WRESTLING OVER REVENUE

CLIMATE-POSITIVE HYDROGEN:

By: Martin Creamer     18th October 2019 The quote about oil age ending long before the world runs out of oil is generally attributed to former Saudi oil minister Sheik Ahmed Zaki Yamani.  Currently, as hydrogen peeps out as a potential oil alternative, it is a quote that is being heard with increasing frequency. The fall in renewable... 

CLIMATE-POSITIVE HYDROGEN:

ON THE MENU

By: Darlene Creamer     18th October 2019 Finance Minister Tito Mboweni will not have his staple Lucky Star pilchards available to add some much-needed flavour to what is likely to be a relatively foul-tasting Medium-Term Budget Policy Statement (MTBPS). The statement, which will be released on October 30, is likely to be dominated by... 

ON THE MENU

FUNDING THE SWITCH TO SOLAR:

By: Martin Creamer     11th October 2019 The decision of the African Development Bank to launch a $500-million initiative to assist African countries to transition to renewable energy is yet another example of the way banks the world over are enthusiastically offering to finance sun and wind energy projects. Governments, too, are... 

FUNDING THE SWITCH TO SOLAR:

BACK TO THE FUTURE

By: Darlene Creamer     11th October 2019 After a short-lived profit reprieve in 2018, South Africa’s upstream steel industry is under severe financial pressure yet again. In fact, it’s looking more and more like “déjà vu all over again”, to steal Yogi Berra’s famously redundant quotation. South Africa’s largest producer ArcelorMittal... 

BACK TO THE FUTURE

JULES VERNE'S PREDICTION COMING TRUE:

By: Martin Creamer     4th October 2019 The advertisement that renewable hydrogen aspirant Hydrox Holdings placed in Mining Weekly’s fuel cells feature quoted Jules Verne as saying this as long ago as 1874: “One day water will be used as fuel – the hydrogen and oxygen which constitute it, will provide an inexhaustible source of... 

JULES VERNE'S PREDICTION COMING TRUE:

SINKING FEELING

By: Darlene Creamer     4th October 2019 For several years, the South African economy has been dragged down by politics and politicians. During the Jacob Zuma Presidency, corruption and State capture tore into the economy much like the proverbial iceberg that tore through the Titanic’s hull. Under President Cyril Ramaphosa the economic... 

SINKING FEELING

SOUTH AFRICA CAN CATALYSE HYDROGEN ECONOMY:

By: Martin Creamer     27th September 2019 South Africa has the technology and skills to become competitive in hydrogen, the platinum twin that can catalyse a better world. The uptake of a hydrogen economy can start arresting South Africa’s negative climate change trajectory, Minerals Council South Africa CEO Roger Baxter outlined to... 

SOUTH AFRICA CAN CATALYSE HYDROGEN ECONOMY:

PULLING THE RUG

By: Darlene Creamer     27th September 2019 With little or no prospect of cash-strapped Eskom being able to close the country’s emerging supply gap, South Africa’s reliance on independent power producers (IPPs) is undoubtedly going to rise further. Given that background, government’s plan to review the existing IPP contracts appears... 

PULLING THE RUG

SAVING PLANET EARTH:

By: Martin Creamer     20th September 2019 Hydrogen is at the centre of the solution to climate change and platinum, in turn, is at the centre of hydrogen, London-based Anglo American market development head Benny Oeyen emphasised when he spoke to Mining Weekly on the sidelines of this year’s Platinum Group Metals Industry Day in... 

SAVING PLANET EARTH:

GROWTH PUZZLE

By: Darlene Creamer     20th September 2019 Finance Minister Tito Mboweni has come in for some heavy criticism following the release, for public comment, of an economic strategy document. The howls of disapproval have also not been confined to the opposition benches, with members of the governing Tripartite Alliance showing as much... 

GROWTH PUZZLE

LEAST-COST ENERGY:

By: Martin Creamer     13th September 2019 More frequent extreme weather events are forcing insurers to re-evaluate coal mining and coal-firing risk. Last month Johannesburg Stock Exchange-listed coal-mining and energy company Exxaro Resources reported that it was experiencing higher insurance premiums in the renewal of its insurance... 

LEAST-COST ENERGY:

KNIFE EDGE

By: Darlene Creamer     13th September 2019 Slowly but surely the severity of South Africa’s fiscal situation is starting to sink in. The country is simply not expanding at a pace that is supportive of securing the revenue growth required to meet the ever-increasing demands on the public purse. The country’s debt is likewise reaching... 

KNIFE EDGE

MIND THE GAP

By: Darlene Creamer     6th September 2019 South Africa’s fiscal balance has entered dangerous territory, owing to a combination of years of low growth, under collection of revenue by an institutionally weakened South African Revenue Service, corruption and State capture and large new demands, especially from State-owned companies such as... 

MIND THE GAP

FROM CURSE TO BLESSING:

By: Martin Creamer     6th September 2019 Acid mine drainage (AMD), for long regarded as a mining curse, could be turned into a blessing if a new technology is rolled out successfully. Innovative South African company Hydrox Holdings wants to turn AMD into hydrogen, the new power source that a world hit by climate change wants as an... 

FROM CURSE TO BLESSING:

TRADE WAR WHIRLWIND

By: Martin Creamer     30th August 2019 The trade war between the US and China sent the gold price up as investors sought shelter from what they features was a gathering storm. But US inconsistency in going this way and then that may have the precious metal taking unexpected routes.  At the time of going to press, gold futures rallied... 

TRADE WAR WHIRLWIND

RAND RUCTIONS

By: Darlene Creamer     30th August 2019 South Africans have become somewhat accustomed to the fact that their currency is among the most volatile globally. For that reason, many citizens keep close tabs on the dollar/rand exchange rate, in particular. When it weakens, the mood darkens; when it strengthens, South Africans eagerly await... 

RAND RUCTIONS
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