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EXPLOSIVE INFORMATION

By: Darlene Creamer     7th July 2017 The court case surrounding the award, by Eskom, of a R4-billion tender to Dongfang, of China, to repair the Duvha Unit 3 boiler, catastrophically damaged in 2011, has some deeply disturbing elements. While Dongfang’s bid was based on a fixed price, it was nevertheless more expensive than ones... 

EXPLOSIVE INFORMATION

SMASH AND GRAB

By: Martin Creamer     30th June 2017 Mineral Resources Minister Mosebenzi Zwane has unleashed havoc on the already battered local mining industry by adopting a short-term smash-and-grab approach to a long-term industry that can only yield economic inclusivity if it grows. To grow, mining needs investment and to get investment it has... 

SMASH AND GRAB

PUNCH DRUNK

By: Darlene Creamer     30th June 2017 South Africa’s toxic politics has left business, as well as potential investors, punch drunk. Besides the irrational ‘night of the long knives’ Cabinet reshuffle, business confidence has been further knocked by the unilateral release of a Mining Charter that cannot be implemented and is probably... 

PUNCH DRUNK

IN THE CROSSHAIRS

By: Martin Creamer     23rd June 2017 ‘BHP board in hedge fund's crosshairs’, ran one headline, along with ongoing reportage of the once-hallowed BHP being downgraded left, right and centre by fund managers and analysts. It is almost as if BHP has gone back to being the Broken Hearted People company it was in the late Nineties,... 

IN THE CROSSHAIRS

ELECTRIC STORM

By: Darlene Creamer     23rd June 2017 News that electricity utility Eskom will be seeking a shocking 19.9% tariff hike from April 1, 2018, is not at all welcome, despite the fact that utility absorbed a 2.2% increase this year. To make things worse, the application has been made amid worrying claims of corruption at the State-owned... 

ELECTRIC STORM

COBALT CAPTURE

By: Martin Creamer     16th June 2017 While the cobalt in platinum group metals (PGM) ore is destroyed in during conventional PGM processing, the new Kell technology can put an end to all that. The lower temperature hydrometallurgical process developed by the Pallinghurst group saves cobalt from destruction at a time when the cobalt... 

COBALT CAPTURE

GRAVY TRAIN

By: Darlene Creamer     16th June 2017 One of the most startling stories to emerge out of the #GuptaLeaks trove is about how a Gupta-family surrogate inserted himself between Transnet and China South Rail (CSR) to earn startling commissions. The story by amaBhungane and Scorpio suggests that a company owned by Salim Essa is pocketing... 

GRAVY TRAIN

REMOVING THE SPARKLE

By: Martin Creamer     9th June 2017 Mineral Resources Minister Mosebenzi Zwane has once again thrown consultation to the four winds and dumped the long-standing practice of granting exemption to rough diamonds being sent to neighbouring Botswana so that they can be like-for-like sorted with diamonds mined in Botswana, Namibia and... 

REMOVING THE SPARKLE

TROUBLING TIMES

By: Darlene Creamer     9th June 2017 For South Africans living through the current African National Congress civil war, with its associated fog, it’s hard to believe things could be as bad elsewhere. The sad reality is that the world, more generally, is not in great shape. Terror threats abound, traditional sources of employment are... 

TROUBLING TIMES

REBRANDING UNDER WAY

By: Martin Creamer     2nd June 2017 South Africa’s 128-year-old Chamber of Mines is changing its name and heading for a new identity, motivated by the need to toss the apartheid past into the dustbin of history and rebrand the organisation as a new modern entity that stimulates economic growth. The changes being introduced will... 

REBRANDING UNDER WAY

SALE SCANDAL 

By: Darlene Creamer     2nd June 2017 The illegal sale of the country’s oil stocks by the Strategic Fuel Fund may well go down in history as one of the most brazen thefts of public resources yet committed in democratic South Africa. The fact that both internal governance rules at the Central Energy Fund and the Public Finance... 

SALE SCANDAL

PLATINUM’S ROYAL RECEPTION

By: Martin Creamer     26th May 2017 PLATINUM’S ROYAL RECEPTION – The Royal Mint will in a few weeks issue 1 oz ‘Queen’s Beasts Lion of England’ platinum coinage, which has rekindled hopes that the South African Mint will wipe the dust off its plans to issue a Mandela coin in platinum. Every effort needs to be made to improve the... 

PLATINUM’S ROYAL RECEPTION

EXCESS LOAD

By: Darlene Creamer     26th May 2017 South Africans have become somewhat numb to outrageous developments at State-owned companies. But the decision of the Eskom board to reinstate Brian Molefe as CEO was sufficient to shock just about all of society – government, business, labour, civil society and even the governing African... 

EXCESS LOAD

PGM PAIN AND GAIN

By: Martin Creamer     19th May 2017 Palladium this month reached its most expensive price in 15 years when it rallied to within $100/oz of its platinum group metals (PGM) stablemate. The price divergence is the result of dalliance in the automotive industry, with the diesel vehicle market, where platinum features strongly, facing... 

PGM PAIN AND GAIN

PROTECTION OFFSET

19th May 2017 Trade and Industry Minister Dr Rob Davies has signed off on a hot-rolled coil safeguard duty, which will offer further protection to South Africa’s primary steel producer ArcelorMittal South Africa. However, he has also promised a new incentive for the downstream industry, which is equally under... 

PROTECTION OFFSET

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
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