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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 The now-repealed...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

UNEQUAL PAY

By: Darlene Creamer     2nd December 2016 In the same week that the R3 500-a-month figure was unveiled as the suggested national minimum wage for South Africa, Bloomberg released a survey showing that South African CEOs were the seventh best remunerated globally. In fact, using a ranking that compares CEO pay to income generated per... 

UNEQUAL PAY

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
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