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Africa News

Newmont gains ground in war on costs

By: Liezel Hill     24th July 2008 Denver-based gold-miner Newmont Mining expects its production costs to increase by just about 12% this year, to between $425/oz and $450/oz, which compares well with projections of an industry average cost increase of some 25%, CEO Richard O'Brien said on Thursday. Mining companies worldwide are... 

Iron-ore prices to remain strong as miners struggle to meet demand

By: Matthew Hill     24th July 2008 Iron-ore miners of the world would not be able to meet demand for the steel-making ingredient for the next three to five years, JSE-listed Kumba Iron Ore (KIO) said on Thursday. This was as Chinese demand for the product kept growing. 

De Beers, NUM agree on wage increases

By: Shannon de Ryhove     24th July 2008 Diamond giant De Beers confirmed on Thursday that the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) had formally agreed on a 12% settlement for the 2008 wage negotiations. The company said in a statement that the notice of industrial action scheduled for Thursday evening had been withdrawn by the union. 

Transnet rail expansion talks delay Sishen South by a year - KIO 

By: Matthew Hill     24th July 2008 Extended rail expansion negotiations between Kumba Iron Ore (KIO), Africa’s biggest iron-ore miner, and State-owned Transnet have pushed production at its nine-million ton a year Sishen South project back by a year, to 2012, the Anglo American subsidiary said on Thursday. The project would now... 

Chromex starts production at SA chrome mine

By: Chanel de Bruyn     24th July 2008 Aim-listed chrome-miner Chromex would be entering a cash-generative stage after it started production at its Stellite opencast chrome mine, in the North West province of South Africa, it said on Thursday. Chromex would initially build up a stockpile of chromite ore, and start third-party sales... 

Australian explorer to buy stake SA coal projects

By: Mariaan Webb     24th July 2008 Australia-listed explorer Firestone Energy has completed a due diligence to acquire interests in two South African coal projects, near Exxaro’s Grootegeluk mine, in the Waterberg region, it said on Thursday. The due diligence formed part of conditions set out in a deal that would see Firestone... 

Aquarius fourth-quarter output slips on industrial issues in SA

By: Christy van der Merwe     24th July 2008 Aquarius Platinum's attributable platinum group-metal (PGM) production fell to 109 863 oz in the fourth quarter, marginally down from the 112 527 oz in the quarter ended March, however strong metal prices ensured that record basket prices were achieved, but not enough to lift margins. CEO Stuart... 

First Uranium delays Ezulwini commissioning to October

By: Matthew Hill     24th July 2008 JSE-listed First Uranium has delayed the commissioning of its Ezulwini uranium plant from August to October, owing to the late supply of equipment, it said on Thursday. However, the company commented that this would not affect shipping volumes in the 2009 financial year. 

Africa Diamonds to take De Beers to arbitration over Botswana project

By: Matthew Hill     24th July 2008 Aim-listed African Diamonds (AFD) was taking gem giant De Beers to arbitration over its plans to delay the AK6 project, in Botswana, which the two are partners on, it said on Thursday. AFD said that De Beers proposed that the project was not viable, owing to doubts over power supplies. 

Kumba H1 headline earnings up 76%

By: Matthew Hill     24th July 2008 South Africa’s biggest iron-ore producer, Kumba Iron Ore (KIO), on Thursday reported an increase in headline earnings of 76% to R2,8-billion for the six months ended June 30, compared with the figure a year before of R1,6-billion. This came as Asian demand for the steel making ingredient rose,... 

Aim Resources starts legal proceedings against ex-MD Flory

By: Liezel Hill     23rd July 2008 Sydney-based Aim Resources has begun proceedings in the Supreme Court of New South Wales against former MD Marc Flory, the firm announced on Wednesday. The litigation, which also included other unnamed parties, related to “alleged breaches of duties” while Flory was a director of the company. 

Gary Ralfe steps down from De Beers board

By: Creamer Media Reporter      23rd July 2008 Diamond mining giant De Beers on Wednesday announced that former MD and director Gary Ralfe retired from the board. Having served at the company for 34 years, De Beers said that Ralfe was “instrumental in implementing some of the major changes at De Beers and, indeed, across the diamond industry”. 

De Beers to open record three new diamond mines this year

By: Matthew Hill     23rd July 2008 World number-one diamond producer De Beers will open three new mines in 2008, which is a record for the 120-year-old company, chairperson Nicky Oppenheimer said on Wednesday. These new operations included the Snap Lake and Victor mines in Canada, and Voorspoed in South Africa. 

Gem sales to remain strongest over Christmas season for now – De Beers

By: Matthew Hill     23rd July 2008 While the last three months of the year would continue to show the strongest diamond sales, on demand from the US and the Middle East, sales might show a more balanced spread over the rest of the year as demand grew in other countries, De Beers MD Gareth Penny confirmed on Wednesday. This came... 

Homeland Energy considering Johannesburg, London listings

By: Martin Creamer     23rd July 2008 Stock exchange listings in London, Johannesburg and Gaborone were under consideration, Homeland Energy investor relations executive Naomi Nemeth said on Wednesday. 

Angola, Botswana exploration activities ‘promising’ - Petra

By: Shannon de Ryhove     23rd July 2008 Diamond-miner Petra Diamonds' exploration activities in Angola and Botswana were showing "promising" developments, the company said on Wednesday. The Alto Cuilo site, in Angola, has the potential to contain "substantial" deposits of economic diamond-bearing material, while the Luangue work... 

Botswana destined to rival Namibia as uranium producer, says Australian explorer

By: Martin Creamer     23rd July 2008 Botswana was destined to become a major uranium producer that rivalled its neighbour Namibia, Australian explorer Dr Andrew Tunks said in Gaborone on Wednesday.  

BHP reports record yearly output in key commodities

By: Chanel de Bruyn     23rd July 2008 Diversified-miner BHP Billiton’s annual production in 13 of its commodities has increased significantly for the year ended June 30, with records achieved in seven commodities, despite supply disruptions and input cost pressures, it reported on Tuesday. Annual production records were achieved in... 

SA mine strike 'counterproductive', says Chamber

By: Matthew Hill     23rd July 2008 South Africa's Chamber of Mines (CoM) was "disappointed" with the strike that curbed mining production in the country on Wednesday, saying that the action was "counterproductive", senior executive Frans Barker told Mining Weekly Online. He said that the strike, which saw the JSE's gold mining... 

De Beers says first-half sales up 10%

By: Matthew Hill     23rd July 2008 De Beers, the biggest diamond producer globally, on Wednesday reported a 10% increase in sales for the first half of the year, as prices rose, despite a slight reduction in production. MD Gareth Penny said that it would be “imprudent” not to be cautious over sales for the second half of 2008,... 

SA union agrees 12% wage hikes from manganese miner

By: Liezel Hill     23rd July 2008 South African trade union Solidarity has secured wage increases of 12% for its members employed at Samancor's Hotazel Manganese Mining, in the country's Northern Cape province.  

Freeport stands by H2 '09 for first production from Tenke Fungurume

By: Liezel Hill     23rd July 2008 Despite difficult operating conditions, copper-miner Freeport-McMoRan is “increasingly confident” that the Tenke Fungurume copper/cobalt mine, in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), will start production as scheduled, in the second half of 2009, CEO Richard Adkerson said on Tuesday. The DRC... 

Intrepid to start construction next year on Argentina mine

By: Liezel Hill     23rd July 2008 TSX- and ASX-listed Intrepid Mines is working on the design and procurement of key equipment for its Casposo gold/silver project, in Argentina, and expects construction to get under way in the second quarter of 2009, CFO Steve Smith said this week. Production at Casposo, which will be the... 

Freeport-McMoRan considers big expansion at Peru mine, seriously exploring all assets

By: Liezel Hill     23rd July 2008 Arizona-based Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold believes it can double the reserves at its Cerro Verde copper and molybdenum mine, in Peru, and is considering a large expansion to boost milling capacity at the operation. Freeport, which acquired rival Phelps Dodge for $26-billion last year, is... 

New settlement proposal for former Kebble-run JCI, R&E

By: Matthew Hill     22nd July 2008 Long-suffering shareholders in fraud-clobbered JCI and Randgold & Exploration (R&E) would likely vote on a new settlement proposal in two to three months, a spokesperson for the two companies said on Tuesday. Brian Gibson told Mining Weekly Online that “shareholders on both sides will probably... 

Platmin awards R4,8bn mining contract to MCC

By: Chanel de Bruyn     22nd July 2008 Contract mining company MCC Contracts has been awarded a six-year R4,8-billion contract to conduct the open-cast mining operations at emerging miner Platmin’s Pilanesberg mine, in the North West province of South Africa. “With this major contract in place we are now better placed to predict our... 

Palabora expects up to 20% increase in half-year headline earnings

By: Creamer Media Reporter      22nd July 2008 JSE-listed Palabora Mining Company on Tuesday said it expected headline earnings a share for the six months ended June 30, to be between R440-million and R460-million, or between 910c a share and 952c a share. This would be an increase of between 15% and 20% on the corresponding period’s... 

Freeport-McMoRan Q2 profit slips to $947m

By: Liezel Hill     22nd July 2008 Arizona-based Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold posted net income of $947-million for the second quarter of 2008, a decrease of 14% year-on-year, after copper and gold production declined. The company reported consolidated sales of 942-million pounds of copper, 265 000 oz of gold and 20-million... 

SA produces more mining skills, but can’t keep up with growth, poaching

By: Matthew Hill     22nd July 2008 While the number of mining engineering-specific graduates South Africa produced in 2006 showed a vast improvement on previous years, at 526 graduates, the figure was still shockingly low, given the sector’s growth, combined with the growing threat of global skills poaching. Johannesburg-based... 

De Beers facing SA strike threat

By: Chanel de Bruyn     21st July 2008 Labour union the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) on Monday said about 3 500 of its members, who were employed at diamond mining company De Beers, would participate in industrial action on July 24. The union had declared wage disputes with De Beers, Sishen Iron Ore and Exxaro on July 10,... 

Experts meet to discuss draft mining code for West Africa's Ecowas region

By: Liezel Hill     21st July 2008 Experts representing members of the Economic Community of West African States (Ecowas) will meet in the Nigerian capital of Abuja on Tuesday, to examine and validate a draft regional mining code, the body said in a statement. Representatives of Oxfam, the Southern African Development Community,... 

Analysts to look for signs of greater production consistency from SA’s gold miners

By: Matthew Hill     21st July 2008 While South Africa’s ‘big three’ gold producers should report slightly improved production and cost-control figures for the second quarter when compared with the one previous, analysts canvassed by Mining Weekly Online on Monday indicated that they were likely to pay particular attention to the... 

Australia’s Ampella boosts Burkino Faso gold holdings

By: Chanel de Bruyn     21st July 2008 ASX-listed gold and zinc exploration company Ampella Mining has signed a memorandum of understanding to acquire a 100% interest in five gold tenements in Burkina Faso, which would increase its prospecting area of gold and zinc bearing Birmian greenstone belts within the west African country, to 2... 

Eastplats expectations tempered in research note

By: Matthew Hill     21st July 2008 Analysts at RBC Capital Markets have reduced their target share price for JSE-, Aim-, and TSX-listed Eastern Platinum (Eastplats) to $4 a share, but the stock was still trading well below that level. RBC Capital Markets said that Eastplats management had been “too conservative” with short-term... 

Former ambassador appointed director at Egypt-focused gold junior

By: Matthew Hill     21st July 2008 An Australian gold exploration and development company, Centamin Egypt, announced the appointment on Monday of Prof Rob Bowker as an independent nonexecutive director. Bowker, who is an expert on the Middle East, having read Arabic and Islamic studies, had previously served as Australia’s... 

Camec plans to spin off Moz, SA coal assets into new company

By: Liezel Hill     18th July 2008 London-based Central African Mining and Exploration (Camec) plans to divest its coal assets into a separately listed company - dubbed NewCo for now - in which it will hold about 70%, the firm said on Friday. The balance of the new firm will be owned by existing Camec shareholders, which will... 

Equinox now expects Lumwana project may be completed by December

By: Liezel Hill     18th July 2008 Repair work has begun at Equinox Minerals' Lumwana copper project, in Zambia, after a fire on July 7 damaged a 20-MVA transformer and adjacent 11-kV substation at the process plant facility. The first concentrate was originally scheduled to be produced this month at Lumwana, but the company now... 

SACMH appoints geologist to its board

By: Creamer Media Reporter      18th July 2008 JSE-listed South African Coal Mining Holdings (SACMH) has appointed Dr Vanessa Lickfold to the board as a nonexecutive director, from August 2008. Vanessa holds a BSc (Hons) in geology from the University of the Witwatersrand, as well as an MSc in exploration geology from Rhodes University. She... 

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