Daily podcast – January 22, 2009

22nd January 2009 By: Shannon de Ryhove - Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor Polity & Multimedia

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Thursday, January 22, 2009.

From Creamer Media in Johannesburg, I'm Shannon O'Donnell.

Making headlines today:

On Wednesday, the shareholders of JSE-listed gold company Aflease approved the company's proposed merger with Australia-based BMA Gold, to form Gold One.

Aflease would now have to discuss the merger with its bondholders. It would also have to get final approval from South African competition authorities.
The merger would be completely finalised by the end of next month. It will see the formation of a dual-listed midtier gold-miner.

The portfolio of Gold One will include operations from a near-production gold mine in South Africa, to gold exploration activities in Australia.

Aflease CEO Neal Froneman:
(audio clip)

On Wednesday, diversified miner BHP Billiton said it would cut about 6 000 jobs at a number of operations by the end of June. The miner employs just over 100 000 people worldwide.

BHP Billiton head of communications for South Africa Bronwyn Wilkinson said that about 70% of this reduction would be contractor jobs. The majority of cuts would be made at its Australian operations. The miner's South African operations have escaped this round of job cuts.

BHP Billiton CFO Alex Vanselow said that the group didn't take these decisions lightly, but that they were necessary.

Also making headlines:

Gold producer Gold Fields may lay off 1 500 workers.
Diamond giant De Beers says the market faces a ‘difficult' time.
TSX- and Aim-listed African Copper closes its Botswana mine and seeks to raise $15-million.
And, Toronto-based Kinross Gold will raise up to $414,6-million in a share sale.

That's a round up of news making headlines today. For more on these and other stories please visit miningweekly.com.