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R/€ = 16.91 Change: -0.25
R/$ = 16.59 Change: -0.20
Au 1769.30 $/oz Change: -6.80
Pt 932.50 $/oz Change: 2.75
 

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DEEP AND STEEP

By: Martin Creamer     12th May 2017 Quarter-on-quarter costs at the South Deep gold mine 45 km southwest of Johannesburg soared 56% to a steep $1 821/oz in the first three months of this year, on a production fall to 45 800 oz. Worse still, the mine suffered two fatal accidents. A total of 20 900 oz of gold were lost as a result of... 

DEEP AND STEEP

POISONOUS PROCUREMENT

By: Darlene Creamer     12th May 2017 In their April 26 judgment, justices Lee Bozalek and Elizabeth Baartman said it would be “inappropriate for the court to prescribe to the Minister the form of any procurement process to be adopted”. However, their ruling makes it plain that processes followed until now have been neither rational... 

POISONOUS PROCUREMENT

FIRM REJECTION

By: Martin Creamer     5th May 2017 New South African Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba has firmly rejected the nationalisation notions of his adviser, Professor Chris Malikane. By contrast, Gigaba has informed investors that his short-term goal is to avoid further sovereign credit downgrades, his medium-term goal is to restore South... 

FIRM REJECTION

GREATER VIGILANCE

By: Darlene Creamer     5th May 2017 The advent of social media has brought many benefits, including the ability of citizens to have a greater say over social and political developments. But there is a dark side, including the emergence of fake news, often generated by so-called ‘paid Twitter’. There is no turning back the... 

GREATER VIGILANCE

ESKOM BALL AND CHAIN

By: Martin Creamer     28th April 2017 Although State utility Eskom has referred to a change of ownership “sticking point” and the need for an urgent meeting with Anglo American, two labour unions have publicly backed the sale of Anglo’s Eskom-tied of coal assets to Seriti, the new 79 % black-owned start-up that is aspiring to be... 

ESKOM BALL AND CHAIN

NO JOKE

By: Darlene Creamer     28th April 2017 Those who dismissed – even joked – about South Africa’s recent downgrades were either displaying unbelievable arrogance, or dangerous ignorance. While the brunt of ‘junk’ has been softened by the fact that the country’s local currency debt remains investment grade, the impact will, nevertheless,... 

NO JOKE

CUT SUPPLY BUT NOT JOBS:

By: Martin Creamer     21st April 2017 Getting the balance right in the commodities business is tricky, but essential. With low dollar platinum prices refusing to go away, attention simply must be given to ending oversupply – but without job loss. Create stockpiles, mine ounces with the best margins in descending order and use... 

CUT SUPPLY BUT NOT JOBS:

IN FREE FALL

By: Darlene Creamer     21st April 2017 The image and reputation of Africa’s oldest liberation movement, the African National Congress, has been sliding for some time. However, under the leadership of President Jacob Zuma the decline is becoming precipitous. 

IN FREE FALL

CHALLENGED PLATINUM

By: Martin Creamer     14th April 2017 The price of platinum has sagged by as much as the price of gold has risen, and threatening to catch up to platinum now is kindred metal palladium, the price of which has been touching the $800/oz mark. Perhaps it is time for platinum to take a cue from manganese, which cut its output and saw its... 

CHALLENGED PLATINUM

SHREDDING DEMOCRACY

By: Darlene Creamer     14th April 2017 President Jacob Zuma’s recent actions have, once again, demonstrated just how far he has veered from the values and principles that defined the struggle for liberation in South Africa and helped shape the current democratic dispensation. As Barbara Hogan, a former Cabinet Minister and Ahmed... 

SHREDDING DEMOCRACY

GOLDEN MILE

By: Martin Creamer     7th April 2017 There was a time when the gold and platinum seemed joined at the hip, but those days are long gone and currently platinum would be doing brilliantly if its price could just keep up with gold. Why the lapse? At last month’s Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada convention, Bank of... 

GOLDEN MILE

SINKING FEELING

By: Darlene Creamer     7th April 2017 “For to be free is not merely to cast off one’s chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others,” was one of the late President Nelson Mandela’s many pearls of wisdom. Perhaps it could serve as something of an inspirational lifeline for South Africans thrashing in... 

SINKING FEELING

SITING DUCK

By: Martin Creamer     31st March 2017 The future of Anglo American has been thrown up into uncertainty by Vedanta’s purchase of 13% of Anglo’s shares, which has given rise to speculation that Vedanta would like to take over Anglo’s South African iron-ore, coal and platinum mines. The Indian company used its Volcan Investments vehicle... 

SITING DUCK

REDISCOVERING DIALOGUE

By: Darlene Creamer     31st March 2017 Without doubt, social media has empowered citizens and activists to influence national and international debates like never before. However, these technologies have a dark side. Besides the unsettling phenomenon of fake news, an atmosphere unrestrained hostility is also prevalent. For South... 

REDISCOVERING DIALOGUE

PRICE PRISONER:

By: Martin Creamer     24th March 2017 Platinum remains oversupplied on lack of production discipline, especially in South Africa. Provided miners eliminate 300 000 oz to 400 000 oz of yearly supply, platinum could rally, Bank of America Merrill Lynch said at the yearly Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada convention, in... 

PRICE PRISONER:

POLICY & SELF CORRECTION

By: Darlene Creamer     24th March 2017 The African National Congress released nine discussion documents earlier this month in the run up to its June policy conference. It is far from clear whether the documents will help facilitate the ‘self correction’ that has been promised by the fractured governing party. In all likelihood that... 

POLICY & SELF CORRECTION

PULLING THE RUG FROM UNDER MINING 

By: Martin Creamer     17th March 2017 South Africa’s current economic growth is hopelessly inadequate to drive the socioeconomic changes that are so desperately needed. But while one would expect improved economic growth to result from an end to minerals legislation delays and Mining Charter uncertainty, the status quo may be a... 

PULLING THE RUG FROM UNDER MINING

CRACKED CREDIBILITY

By: Darlene Creamer     17th March 2017 The credibility of President Jacob Zuma’s administration is arguably already cracked beyond repair. However, the recent social-grants fiasco brought into sharp focus not only incompetence of certain close allies of Zuma, but also how little regard some Ministers have for the rule of law and the... 

CRACKED CREDIBILITY

FACTIONAL FARCE

By: Martin Creamer     10th March 2017 Factionalism is rife within government currently and very sad to behold. It also comes with a lot of unintended consequences. One of those is the manner in which the Department of Mineral Resources (DMR) and hurt the South African Revenue Services (SARS), even though everything points to them... 

FACTIONAL FARCE

ALTERNATIVE PATH

By: Darlene Creamer     10th March 2017 Trade protectionism is back in fashion, with US President Donald Trump leading the march against free trade, which he blames for destroying American industries and jobs. The backlash is fuelled by growing discontent about the shape of globalisation, which is associated with unacceptably high... 

ALTERNATIVE PATH

FIXING FOR PROFITS

By: Darlene Creamer     3rd March 2017 The mechanics of how currency traders manipulated the buying and selling process to maximise profits and avoid losses are complicated. It is also far from clear whether the collusive actions of these South Africa, American and British traders had any major influence on the level at which the rand... 

FIXING FOR PROFITS

TRANSPARENCY TRUMPED

By: Martin Creamer     24th February 2017 On June 27, 2016, the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) voted to approve regulations to implement Section 1504, or the Cardin-Lugar Amendment, of the 2010 Dodd-Frank Financial Reform and Consumer Protection Act. Section 1504 requires any oil, gas or mining company filing an annual... 

TRANSPARENCY TRUMPED

NONVIOLENCE AT RISK

By: Darlene Creamer     24th February 2017 South Africans have arguably become somewhat numb to the violent disruptions that have now become commonplace in Parliament. However, indulging this sort of behaviour carries serious long-term risks, not only for democratic process, but also for the way societal disagreements are resolved more... 

NONVIOLENCE AT RISK

TRUMP THUMP

By: Martin Creamer     17th February 2017 President Trump signed two directives last week that roll back key financial regulations of the Obama era. He has decided to put a match to the Dodd-Frank rule that requires companies to disclose whether their products contain conflict minerals from a war-torn part of Africa. The now-repealed... 

TRUMP THUMP

YEARS OF THE CHICKEN

By: Darlene Creamer     17th February 2017 Last year, South Africa “played chicken” with the US, which threatened to withdraw some of the country’s preferential trade access under the African Growth and Opportunity Act unless restraints on American chicken imports were eased. This year, attention has turned to the European Union, whose... 

YEARS OF THE CHICKEN

DOWN DMR'S DRAIN

By: Martin Creamer     10th February 2017 Instead of the Department of Mineral Resources (DMR) thinking up plans to boost South African mining, recent court judgements demonstrate how the DMR is sending this country’s invaluable minerals endowment down the drain. Urgent steps should be taken not only to put an end to this, but to make... 

DOWN DMR'S DRAIN

STORM WARNINGS

By: Darlene Creamer     10th February 2017 The political weather reports have become increasingly extreme over the past year, with storms breaking out almost daily since the Brexit vote. The dangers have grown all the more intense, though, since the shock election of President Donald Trump, whose ‘America First’ mission statement seems... 

STORM WARNINGS

DMR FIDDLES WHILE MINING BURNS

By: Martin Creamer     3rd February 2017 Under current leadership, the Department of Mineral Resources (DMR) has broken with the collective public-private approach of the past and is choosing haphazard engagement that is unfair to this country’s rich resource endowment. While the DMR fiddles, mining companies are being forced to derisk... 

DMR FIDDLES WHILE MINING BURNS

LIFEBOAT IN JEOPARDY

By: Darlene Creamer     3rd February 2017 Debate is raging domestically about the motives behind the resurfacing of the so-called Bankorp/Absa ‘lifeboat’ saga, which dates bank to the dying days of apartheid when the South Africa Reserve Bank governor at the time, Dr Chris Stals, extended unlawful support to Bankorp, which was then... 

LIFEBOAT IN JEOPARDY

BULLS TAKE ON BEARS

By: Martin Creamer     27th January 2017 Are the bulls gaining the upper hand in mining? That will be thoroughly discussed at this year’s Mining Indaba, where panellists on both sides of the divide will ponder the prospects mining’s recovery in 2017. The Fitch Group’s research arm BMI believes that the growth outlook will improve... 

BULLS TAKE ON BEARS

SOCIAL MANIA

By: Darlene Creamer     27th January 2017 Social Media has become an increasingly powerful weapon for winning hearts and minds. US President Donald Trump was incredibly effective in using Twitter to shape the election narrative and has given no indication that he intends giving his thumbs a rest during his stay at the White House.... 

SOCIAL MANIA

MINERAL 'WRONGS'

By: Martin Creamer     20th January 2017 A company applying for mineral rights ended up getting mineral ‘wrongs’, the High Court has found. The court found that Aquila Steel South Africa was being treated unfairly by the Department of Mineral Resources (DMR), which had opted to do the bidding of the Pan African Mineral Development... 

MINERAL 'WRONGS'

ANTI-TRADE WINDS

By: Darlene Creamer     20th January 2017 Free trade is under attack and anti-trade winds are blowing across the global economy. First there was the surprise Brexit vote, followed by the stunning victory of populist Donald Trump in last year’s US election. Both events point to growing scepticism about the virtues of free trade and... 

ANTI-TRADE WINDS

STREAKING AHEAD

By: Martin Creamer     16th December 2016 Diversified mining and marketing company Glencore enters 2017 with a fully restored balance sheet. The London-, Hong Kong- and Johannesburg-listed company’s 207% year-to-date share price rise is showing up yesteryear’s BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto. The tragic Samarco slimes dams deaths in Brazil... 

STREAKING AHEAD

NEW YEAR RISING

By: Darlene Creamer     16th December 2016 Globally and domestically, 2016 has been a taxing year. South Africa’s economy has stalled, unemployment is on the rise and social and racial tensions abound. Then there have been the political shocks out of the UK and the US to contend with. While there are few signs that 2017 will be a dramatic... 

NEW YEAR RISING

MINING ON KNIFE EDGE

By: Darlene Creamer     9th December 2016 The South African mining industry has been placed on a knife edge by the errant Department of Mineral Resources (DMR), which is threatening to gazette deleterious new mining levies before year-end. The DMR is ignoring mining’s huge contribution to exports, foreign exchange earnings and foreign... 

MINING ON KNIFE EDGE

SHORT FUSE

By: Darlene Creamer     9th December 2016 None of the initiatives aimed at unseating President Jacob Zuma have, to date, been sufficient to light the fuse to end his Presidential term. The recent surprise motion of no confidence brought before the African National Congress’ National Executive Committee arguably came the closest. There... 

SHORT FUSE

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
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