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MINE STOPPAGE STOPPED

By: Martin Creamer     25th November 2016 A judge of the Labour Court has ruled that the errant Department of Mineral Resources (DMR) should desist from using sledgehammers to crack nuts. In decrying the irrational manner in which the DMR inspectorate has been closing entire mines without valid reason, judge André van Niekerk also noted... 

MINE STOPPAGE STOPPED

NATURAL ANXIETY

By: Darlene Creamer     25th November 2016 The biggest supermoon since 1948, which was on spectacular display last week, offered something of a happy distraction from far less soothing political developments both at home and abroad. One of the major looming uncertainties relates to the election of Donald Trump as America’s forty-fifth... 

NATURAL ANXIETY

REHABILITATION CONSTERNATION:

By: Martin Creamer     18th November 2016 The management of the rehabilitation guarantees that mining companies are legally obliged to lodge needs to be interrogated in the light of former Public Protector Thuli Madonsela’s observation that the Department of Mineral Resources (DMR) has allowed Gupta coal mining company Tegeta to bank the... 

REHABILITATION CONSTERNATION:

STORM WARNINGS

By: Darlene Creamer     18th November 2016 Political developments around the world continue to shock and surprise. The astonishing election of Donald Trump as the next President of the US, followed only months after the bombshell Brexit vote in the UK. South Africa, similarly, has various political storms of its own under way. Talk about... 

STORM WARNINGS

PLATINUM BULLS WAKING UP

By: Martin Creamer     11th November 2016 The platinum bears are starting to call on the platinum bulls to awake from their slumber and begin putting in a bullish shift. Bloomberg reports that a couple of South Africa’s biggest fund managers are betting on higher future platinum prices. With platinum mining going ex-growth, a regaining... 

PLATINUM BULLS WAKING UP

EGG ON FACE 

By: Darlene Creamer     11th November 2016 The credibility of the National Prosecuting Authority and the National Director of Public Prosecutions, Shaun Abrahams, is at an all-time low following the institution and subsequent withdrawal of dubious fraud charges against Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan. Likewise, the Hawks unit of the South... 

EGG ON FACE

SHARING MINING'S PAIN AND GAIN

By: Martin Creamer     4th November 2016 As African Mining Network guest speaker, Bobby Godsell last week identified sharing risk and reward, pain and gain as a necessary feature of future successful mining on the African continent. As mining follows exploration, the former AngloGold Ashanti CEO and outgoing Business Leadership South... 

SHARING MINING'S PAIN AND GAIN

EXACTING A TOLL

By: Darlene Creamer     4th November 2016 Developments in South Africa’s political, economic and social environments are becoming increasingly difficult for South Africans to bear. The violent disruptions at tertiary institutions, the dubious fraud charges against the Finance Minister and the ongoing weakness of the economy are just some... 

EXACTING A TOLL

PLUNGING PLATINUM

By: Martin Creamer     28th October 2016 Who would have thought that the platinum price was going to fall back into the $900/oz range, particularly against the backdrop of the World Platinum Investment Council foreseeing the supply deficit widening to 520 000 oz this year. Many were assuming that the platinum price would move up above... 

PLUNGING PLATINUM

SHIFTING FUNDAMENTALS

By: Darlene Creamer     28th October 2016 A new comparative analysis by the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research shows that the costs associated with wind and solar photovoltaic plants in South Africa are now materially below all other generation options, including coal. It is a development that will surely have to be taken... 

SHIFTING FUNDAMENTALS

FOURTH INDUSTRIAL REVOLUTION

By: Darlene Creamer     21st October 2016 The word digitisation in the lips of speakers at conferences. The term 4.0 has been popping up, a reference to the fourth industrial revolution, a harbinger of the notion of the total connectivity of mining businesses across the supply chain, with mineworkers potentially knowing as much as... 

OWN GOALS

By: Darlene Creamer     21st October 2016 The decision by the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) to charge Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan, as well as former South African Revenue Service officials Ivan Pillay and Oupa Magashule, with fraud did not come as a massive surprise given the politics that currently pollutes not only the NPA,... 

OWN GOALS

LOUSY LEGACY

By: Martin Creamer     14th October 2016 At last week’s Joburg Indaba, Cadiz Corporate Solutions mining policy consultant Peter Major described the conference’s session on the legacy issues left by the South African mining industry as the scariest of the two days. He said he found the gap between mining companies on the one hand and... 

LOUSY LEGACY

HARD CHOICES

By: Darlene Creamer     14th October 2016 Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan will release the 2016 Medium-Term Budget Policy Statement on October 26. Much attention will no doubt be paid to whether government is holding the fiscal-consolidation line without hurting growth prospects – both key elements for staving off the dreaded year-end... 

HARD CHOICES

INVESTMENT DROUGHT

By: Darlene Creamer     7th October 2016 South Africa is unable to attract investment. In addition to the mining cycle being down, the country is also at the wrong end of the weighted average cost of capital (WACC) yardstick, mainly because of poor government policy. Southern African Institute of Mining and Metallurgy mineral economics... 

INVESTMENT DROUGHT

ECONOMIC OXYGEN

By: Darlene Creamer     7th October 2016 In the absence of confidence, economies stagnate, jobs are not created and investment stalls. For South Africa, the rebuilding of confidence is not only vital for dealing with its serious unemployment and poverty problems, but also to stave off a downgrade to junk in the short term. Sadly, much... 

ECONOMIC OXYGEN

NEGATIVELY TILTED

By: Darlene Creamer     30th September 2016 In mining, the peaks are supposed to be high and troughs low, but with the overall mining picture still being negatively tilted for the past eight years, the days of stronger-for-longer seem part of the distant past. Being a low-cost producer is now regarded as being absolutely essential to... 

NEGATIVELY TILTED

BIG SHOES

By: Darlene Creamer     30th September 2016 South Africa’s much-loved Public Protector Thuli Madonsela will make way for Busisiwe Mkhwebane when her term ends next month. Madonsela succeeded, against all the odds, in elevating the Chapter 9 institution to a level few could have imagined when she assumed office in 2009. The net result is... 

BIG SHOES

BACK IN REVERSE

By: Martin Creamer     23rd September 2016 ANZ Research senior commodity strategist Daniel Hynes says that when the price of a commodity rises by 117% in a mere 15 weeks, as the price of metallurgical coal did, it is generally a sign of something being amiss. What happened was  Chinese coking coal output fell and that plus a tight... 

BACK IN REVERSE

EXPECT FALLOUT 

By: Darlene Creamer     23rd September 2016 The South African government’s decision to press ahead with the release of a request for proposals from nuclear vendors is likely to face social and political fallout. This is particularly so as the tender is being released at a time when demand is flat to falling and given that there appears to... 

EXPECT FALLOUT

PLATINUM CLIFF

By: Martin Creamer     16th September 2016 Outgoing Implats CEO Terence Goodlace can see a platinum supply cliff ahead, concurring Northam Platinum CEO Paul Dunne has put growth projects in place to supply into the rising price environment market the supply shortage will create and the World Platinum Investment Council foresees a 2016 in... 

PLATINUM CLIFF

DOWNGRADE DEADLINE

By: Darlene Creamer     16th September 2016 The welcome announcement by Statistics South Africa that the domestic economy expanded by 3.3% in the second quarter was immediately tempered by warnings that the economy is still likely to move sideways for 2016 as a whole. In other words, the ratings agencies will be looking for signals... 

DOWNGRADE DEADLINE

THE ROCKET TAKES OFF

By: Martin Creamer     9th September 2016 The ‘R’ in DRDGold stands for Roodepoort, which led to DRDGold being nicknamed the Roodepoort Rocket, because the DRDGold share price took off every time the gold price ticked up. It started doing that again following last year’s Nenegate and then after this year’s Brexit. It did so to such an... 

THE ROCKET TAKES OFF

POOR GOVERNANCE COSTS

By: Darlene Creamer     9th September 2016 News that South African fixed-income asset manager Futuregrowth has stopped lending to some State-owned companies highlights the very real risks that lenders are now seeing as a result of governance breakdowns at these firms. Futuregrowth was particularly concerned about developments at Eskom,... 

POOR GOVERNANCE COSTS

DEMANDING TO COME THROUGH

By: Martin Creamer     2nd September 2016 Is commodity demand slowly beginning to get the upper hand? Ivan Glasenberg, the CEO of mining and marketing company Glencore, has for long contended that the problem is not on the demand side but on the over-supply side. “Demand’s there,” Glasenberg told Mining Weekly last week. “The problem is... 

DEMANDING TO COME THROUGH

SPECTRUM SPECTRE

By: Darlene Creamer     2nd September 2016 Whether or not the creation of a ‘Broadband War Room’ will put paid to the legal dispute between Telecommunications and Postal Services Minister Siyabonga Cwele and the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa over the auctioning of much –needed spectrum was far from clear at the time... 

SPECTRUM SPECTRE

IN FOR A 'GRYLLING'

By: Martin Creamer     26th August 2016 In an unprecedented move, two mining companies are being singled out for special tax treatment by Western Australian political party leader Brendon Grylls, who has been officially sworn in as leader of the WA Nationals party. Grylls has ruffled feathers by announcing he wants to introduce a $5/t... 

IN FOR A 'GRYLLING'

SOLAR SYNERGY

By: Darlene Creamer     26th August 2016 While there are still a number of critics of Elon Musk’s $2.6-billion move to merge electric car and battery maker Tesla with struggling SolarCity, the serial entrepreneur’s vision for the merged entity seems compelling. SolarCity’s rooftop solar panels will produce enough electricity to store in... 

SOLAR SYNERGY

ADDING PEP TO THE SPARKLE

By: Martin Creamer     19th August 2016 Christo Wiese, a name synonymous Pep Stores, is part of the consortium of investors taking control of Trans Hex, the Johannesburg Stock Exchange-listed diamond-mining company. Interestingly, before Wiese’s time with Pep, the current Shoprite chairperson was involved with Octha diamonds. If one... 

ADDING PEP TO THE SPARKLE

MYTHS BUSTED

By: Darlene Creamer     19th August 2016 Urban voters shattered a number of electoral myths during the recent local government elections. President Jacob Zuma’s much-quoted mantra that the African National Congress (ANC) would rule until “Jesus returns” became the source of some derision as the party lost voter support in key... 

MYTHS BUSTED

GOLDEN OPPORTUNITY

By: Martin Creamer     12th August 2016 With the gold is still 41% below the levels seen in 2011, Sharps Pixley CEO Ross Norman sees a golden opportunity to buy gold now. What South African gold miners are finding an even bigger golden opportunity is mining gold now, which in rands is fetching record prices above the R600 000/kg level.... 

GOLDEN OPPORTUNITY

ELUSIVE GROWTH

By: Darlene Creamer     12th August 2016 Without far higher levels of economic growth, South Africa will have little chance of dealing with its serious social problems of unemployment, poverty and inequality. Sadly, it appears less and less likely that South Africa will grow at all during 2016, while the 5%-plus target contained in the... 

ELUSIVE GROWTH

THINK ZINC

By: Martin Creamer     5th August 2016 Unloved for so long, zinc is back in fashion, with investors showing great affection for the bluish-white lustrous metallic element. Used to galvanise and protect steel from corrosion, zinc has jumped 40% this year to make it the best-performing industrial metal, according to Bloomberg. Currently... 

THINK ZINC

RENEWABLE RUCTIONS

By: Darlene Creamer     5th August 2016 Simmering tensions between Eskom and renewable-energy independent power producers (IPPs) burst into the open last month, when the State-owned utility sent a letter to the Energy Minister indicating that it would not connect any further IPPs until it had consultations. The outcome of the power... 

RENEWABLE RUCTIONS

FREE, FAIR & PEACEFUL

By: Darlene Creamer     29th July 2016 With countdowns to the Rio Olympics and South Africa’s municipal elections truly under way, issues of fairness are top of mind. Following less than harmonious run-ups, the actual events will hopefully make for far more pleasant viewing. In South Africa free, fair and, most importantly, peaceful... 

FREE, FAIR & PEACEFUL

SPROUTING WINGS

By: Martin Creamer     29th July 2016 The world is doing what has been its custom throughout the centuries. It falls back on the only real way of preserving buying power. It buys gold. Little wonder that the global gold holdings of exchange-traded funds (ETFs) are topping the 2 000 t mark for the first time in three years. There is a... 

SPROUTING WINGS

BUBBLE TROUBLE

By: Martin Creamer     22nd July 2016 Former Federal Reserve luminary Alan Greenspan famously coined the term "irrational exuberance" in referring to asset bubbles, which occur when large overvaluations of assets balloon and then end in grief. Resource Maven newsletter writer Gwen Preston claims in an interview with Mining Weekly... 

BUBBLE TROUBLE

NOT SO SWEET

By: Darlene Creamer     22nd July 2016 The National Treasury has released draft details of its proposed sugar tax amid concerns form some quarters about the efficacy of such a tax in dealing with the scourge of obesity. What is apparent – to the cynics anyway – is that the introduction of a new tax could help fatten government... 

NOT SO SWEET
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