Every Friday, SAfm’s radio anchor Sakina Kamwendo speaks to Martin Creamer, publishing editor of Engineering News & Mining Weekly. Reported here is this Friday’s At the Coalface transcript:
Sakina Kamwendo: Harmony has struck gold with a spectacular three-year wage agreement with South African labour unions.
Martin Creamer: Yes, this is a very good agreement, without dispute and without deadlock, and which is representing a new atmosphere between business and labour. Here’s five unions coming to an agreement, and agreement at very promising wage increase levels of 7.8% and 7.4% and 7.2%, over three years. A very promising deal which seems to have satisfied everybody quite fast, and the Minerals Council South Africa didn’t get involved. It was a direct negotiation of five unions facing one company, Harmony Gold, with one of the biggest shareholders being Patrice Motsepe, who is one of South Africa’s major business people. The agreement also went into increasing housing allowances as well as the Fourth Industrial Revolution and what the impact that is going to have on mines and the digitisation that is coming as a result of it. A lot of aspects were covered there and representing a better atmosphere between business and labour.
Sakina Kamwendo: An exciting new company is setting out to revive gold mining in South Africa’s historic Wits Basin.
Martin Creamer: This is West Wits Mining and interestingly, it’s primarily listed in Australia. You can see how the Australians are seeing opportunities here more than what we are seeing opportunities. It’s only 15 km from the CBD of Johannesburg. If you go out west, you will see that they are already rehabilitating the shafts and are already clearing the bush for this revival of what happened there 20 years ago. We know this new activity is taking place around the old Rand Leases and former assets of DRDGold, which used to mine there. It’s been dormant for 20 years and is now it is being revived against a better gold price, and there’s a new excitement of employing people, of drilling, of creating declines and the first gold will be brought to surface early next year. So, it’s a promising way of getting back our very rich gold deposits in the Witwatersrand Basin, and it’s interesting that we don’t have South African initiatives doing this. This is being done by people with funds coming in from Australia to actually get a mining licence here to revive this. There’s a lot of opportunity, fairly shallow. Other companies are looking at doing similar shallow reef gold mining in the Wits Basin, and although they are small gold deposits being targeted, if you put them all together, they become big.
Sakina Kamwendo: Thanks very much. Martin Creamer is publishing editor of Engineering News & Mining Weekly.