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DOUBLE SHOCK

By: Darlene Creamer     12th April 2019 All South Africans have been feeling the fuel-price pinch ever since the big surge in pump prices took place on Wednesday last week. By contrast, the 13.8% electricity tariff hike introduced on April 1 has hit only direct Eskom customers. The rest of us will feel its shocking brunt from July,... 

DOUBLE SHOCK

PLATINUM'S DAY WILL RETURN:

By: Martin Creamer     5th April 2019 While platinum is being taken down a peg or two by the fall in demand for diesel-driven cars, its once poorer cousins have been stealing the limelight and keeping the good name of the platinum group metals (PGMs) family aloft. However, whenever the great ascendancy of palladium is discussed,... 

PLATINUM'S DAY WILL RETURN:

WORRYING DEVELOPMENTS

By: Darlene Creamer     5th April 2019 All South Africans were understandably frustrated and angry when Eskom resumed load-shedding in mid-March. Rotational power cuts have a devastating impact on the psychology of the nation and on investor confidence. Another as disturbing trend – that of construction-site violence – is going almost... 

WORRYING DEVELOPMENTS

CLIMBING UP THE PERCEPTION LADDER:

By: Martin Creamer     29th March 2019 South Africa is slowly climbing back up the Fraser Institute ladder after falling into the nether regions under errant behaviour within the Minerals Ministry. The Fraser Institute, a research body that has been giving South African mining a hiding for years now, is recognising South Africa’s... 

CLIMBING UP THE PERCEPTION LADDER:

ROAD TO RUIN

By: Darlene Creamer     29th March 2019 Iconic South African construction company Group Five filed for business rescue earlier this month and also applied for its shares to be suspended from trade on the JSE, after 45 years of trading. In a statement to shareholders, the board cautioned that there was only a slim chance for any... 

ROAD TO RUIN

UPPER GROUP GAINS UPPER HAND:

By: Martin Creamer     22nd March 2019 UPPER GROUP GAINS UPPER HAND: Since Volkswagen understated its diesel emission levels, palladium and rhodium prices have been soaring. Accompanying that has been new respect for the upper group two (UG2) reef, which hosts palladium and rhodium in the greatest abundance. ‘Dieselgate’, as the VW... 

UPPER GROUP GAINS UPPER HAND:

DEATH SPIRAL

By: Darlene Creamer     22nd March 2019 The combination of higher electricity tariffs and the fall in solar photovoltaic costs is making it increasingly feasible for companies and high-income households to invest in self-generation to reduce reliance on Eskom or, in some extreme cases, to defect from the grid entirely. In a context of... 

DEATH SPIRAL

PGMS TO THE RESCUE:

By: Martin Creamer     15th March 2019 For long the media referred to platinum mines but from now on we will be calling them platinum group metals (PGMs) mines in recognition of the gallant manner in which the members of the PGMs family have closed ranks during the recent period of platinum price crisis. The platinum price fell... 

PGMS TO THE RESCUE:

ROAD TO HELL

By: Darlene Creamer     15th March 2019 The road to South Africa’s construction industry hell in has been paved by the proverbial good intentions. Prior to the global financial crisis there was much optimism about the role infrastructure could play in raising growth and spurring development. In the immediate aftermath, infrastructure... 

ROAD TO HELL

COAL CAP THAT FITS:

By: Martin Creamer     8th March 2019 Glencore has put a cap on its coal capacity. The large mining and marketing has given a praiseworthy commitment that it will not lift its capacity beyond 150-million tonnes of coal a year, a figure it is already close to; it has also undertaken not build another new coal mine. It is doing this in... 

COAL CAP THAT FITS:

HAZARDOUS & FAKE

By: Darlene Creamer     8th March 2019 The argument that ‘expensive’ independent power producers (IPPs) pose a financial risk to Eskom may be untrue and misleading. It has, nevertheless, gained significant traction and prominence on various social media platforms in recent months. It is also fair to say that the narrative has become... 

HAZARDOUS & FAKE

LOWEST RUNG OF ESG HELL:

By: Martin Creamer     1st March 2019 Huge diversified mining company Vale must be put in the lowest rung of environmental, social and governance (ESG) hell for putting far more emphasis on dividend declarations decided behind fancy mahogany-doored boardrooms than on the safety of dicky upstream iron-ore tailings dams. Last month’s... 

LOWEST RUNG OF ESG HELL:

PLAYER AND REFEREE

By: Darlene Creamer     1st March 2019 African Rainbow Energy & Power (AREP) chairperson Patrice Motsepe has acknowledged that his company has a serious perception problem – one that will persist for as long as his brothers-in-law, Cyril Ramaphosa and Jeff Radebe, occupied the positions of President and Energy Minister respectively.... 

PLAYER AND REFEREE

PARALLEL JUDGEMENTS:

By: Martin Creamer     22nd February 2019 Mining must take place with a strong focus on the interests of those who live in mining areas, says Mineral Resources Minister Gwede Manthashe, a standpoint that supports the notion that a mining right and a land right can co-exist, without pleasing one party at the expense of the other. But the... 

PARALLEL JUDGEMENTS:

POWER SHOWDOWN

By: Darlene Creamer     22nd February 2019 Government has promised to consult meaningfully with labour over a plan to split Eskom into three independent businesses of generation, transmission and distribution. The unbundling is important for creating transparency, but will not succeed without buy-in from labour. President Cyril Ramaphosa... 

POWER SHOWDOWN

TWO-FACED IRON-ORE MINING:

By: Martin Creamer     15th February 2019 TWO-FACED IRON-ORE MINING: Brazilian mining company Vale’s Brumadinho tailings dam collapse killed 150 died and left 182 missing; Vale-BHP’s Samarco dam collapse killed 19. What evokes great sadness is Vale’s payment of no less than seven cash dividends to shareholders between October 2015 and... 

TWO-FACED IRON-ORE MINING:

By: Martin Creamer     15th February 2019 Brazilian mining company Vale’s Brumadinho tailings dam collapse killed 150 died and left 182 missing; Vale-BHP’s Samarco dam collapse killed 19. What evokes great sadness is Vale’s payment of no less than seven cash dividends to shareholders between October 2015 and September 2018. Vale... 

TWO-FACED IRON-ORE MINING:

PULLING THE PLUG

By: Darlene Creamer     15th February 2019 Nedbank has confirmed that it will no longer participate in the funding of two coal-fired power stations to be built by independent power producers. Other domestic and local banks are more reticent in showing their hands, but are under increasing pressure not to support more domestic coal... 

PULLING THE PLUG

RUSHING IN:

By: Martin Creamer     8th February 2019 Zimbabwe President Emerson Mnangagwa’s visit to Russia has reportedly unlocked funds for platinum mining at Darwendale, in Zimbabwe’s Great Dyke, and marked the return to the country of Russia’s state diamond company Alrosa. Bloomberg reports that the Kremlin is “ready to do everything that... 

RUSHING IN:

FAILING BIG

By: Darlene Creamer     8th February 2019 Various politicians and commentators have expressed the sentiment that Eskom is too big to fail. But failing it is. Without decisive action, the electricity utility poses a real threat to South Africa’s still fragile economic recovery. 

FAILING BIG

GOLD'S CONSOLIDATION:

By: Martin Creamer     1st February 2019 Gold-mining CEOs have for long enunciated the merits of greater consolidation of the gold-mining industry, which needs to at least replace every ounce of gold that it mines with another ounce of unmined gold. The merging of very large and fairly large companies brings about consolidation far more... 

GOLD'S CONSOLIDATION:

DIFFICULT START

By: Darlene Creamer     1st February 2019 Former Bosasa executive Angelo Agrizzi’s sordid testimony before the Zondo Commission was more than enough to wipe the gloss off the first month of 2019. Sadly, it was no the only disheartening event of January. Besides the unacceptable segregation of learners at a North West primary school,... 

DIFFICULT START

COMMUNITY CLOUT:

By: Martin Creamer     25th January 2019 COMMUNITY CLOUT: Recent court judgements have placed occupiers of land in the driving seat of mining decision-making. Dictating the way forward are the Constitutional Court’s overturning of the eviction of 37 members of the Lesetlheng community of the North West province; the Pretoria High... 

COMMUNITY CLOUT:

BURNING ISSUE

By: Darlene Creamer     25th January 2019 Youth unemployment is emerging as biggest threat to the future stability of South Africa. For many aged between 15 and 34 the prospect of securing permanent employment is dim and getting dimmer. Our young citizens are not only being let down by an economy that is shedding jobs consistently, but... 

BURNING ISSUE

CHEAPER AND HEALTHIER:

By: Martin Creamer     18th January 2019 CHEAPER AND HEALTHIER: South Africa’s endowment of hot sun and top-tier wind makes a compelling case for investment in renewable energy that protects the environment. This clean power combination is compelling, not only because it is healthy but that it has become the lowest cost option. It has... 

CHEAPER AND HEALTHIER:

ELECTION WAVE

By: Darlene Creamer     18th January 2019 Most South African business people will not look back on 2018 with any great fondness. It proved to be yet another difficult year, with the economy dipping back into recession and with the political climate remaining volatile and, at times, hostile. Many of us will be feeling somewhat... 

ELECTION WAVE

WILD COAST'S WILD CARD:

By: Martin Creamer     14th December 2018 The mining industry has been dealt a wild card by the  Wild Coast, where the community has said no to the mining of titanium. It is the community of Umgungundlovu, a portion of Xolobeni, and it has been given the right to say no by the High Court of Pretoria. The full consent of informal land... 

WILD COAST'S WILD CARD:

NO ESCAPING 2018

By: Darlene Creamer     14th December 2018 he year stated well enough. Hope soared after Cyril Ramaphosa’s election as the new leader of the African National Congress, which resulted in Jacob Zuma’s long-overdue resignation. Those expectations were soon proved unrealistic, however. As 2018 unfolded, it became clear that the damage... 

NO ESCAPING 2018

NEW MINERAL MASTERS:

By: Martin Creamer     7th December 2018 The Mineral Resources Minister will have to obtain the full and formal consent of the Xolobeni community prior to granting anyone the right to mine titanium at Umgungundlovu on the Wild Coast. South Africa’s Gulliver-size mineral wealth, which provides taxes, royalties, jobs, foreign investment... 

NEW MINERAL MASTERS:

RED ALERT

By: Darlene Creamer     7th December 2018 The attacks by the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) on individual journalists, as well as media organisations, have once again highlighted the party’s disdain for the Constitution and the rights enshrined therein. The outrageous utterances are not only dangerous for safety of journalists, but also... 

RED ALERT

UNCERTAIN CERTAINTY:

By: Martin Creamer     30th November 2018 Despite the third iteration of the Mining Charter being gazetted and the starter’s gun fired, discussion still under way between the Mineral Resources Ministry and Minerals Council South Africa has fired enough holes in the cloud that still hovers above new mining investment and greenfield... 

UNCERTAIN CERTAINTY:

POWER SCROOGE

By: Darlene Creamer     30th November 2018 The threat of load-shedding will hover like a fabled Dickensian ghost over the December holiday period and into the New Year. State-owned electricity utility Eskom has also warned that the risk of rotational cuts will rise further should there be persistent rain in the Mpumalanga region, where... 

POWER SCROOGE

NO PANACEA:

By: Martin Creamer     23rd November 2018 Driving electric cars will not make a dent in global carbon emissions, and may even increase pollution levels, say the International Energy Agency (IEA) in its latest World Energy Outlook. It bases this premise on any reduction in emissions from electric vehicles being offset by the increased use... 

NO PANACEA:

RUSSIA-SIZED HOLE

By: Darlene Creamer     23rd November 2018 he International Energy Agency is cautioning of damaging price spikes in the 2020s if the current weak investment in new oil supply is left unchecked. The agency states that the average level of new conventional crude oil project approvals over the last three years is only half the amount... 

RUSSIA-SIZED HOLE

EXPLORATION STILL ON VACATION:

By: Martin Creamer     16th November 2018 South Africa’s $2.5-trillion minerals treasure chest will remain locked until enabling government policy unlocks it. Government has awakened to the massive potential of such an unlocking, but needs to clearly annunciate improved minerals policy to arouse the required investor interest. South... 

EXPLORATION STILL ON VACATION:

WORSENING MAELSTROM

By: Darlene Creamer     16th November 2018 Concern is growing again about the position of many of South Africa’s State-owned companies. Corruption and maladministration are important causes for their current distress. However, the sustainability of many of these enterprises is also threatened by their business models, which, in many... 

WORSENING MAELSTROM

INVESTMENT PLEDGES:

By: Martin Creamer     9th November 2018 INVESTMENT PLEDGES: It was wonderful that many mining-related investments were confirmed at President Cyril Ramaphosa’s investment conference in Johannesburg. The diversified mining company Anglo American pledged R70-billion. Vedanta Zinc International pledged R21.4-billion additional possible... 

INVESTMENT PLEDGES:

BREWING CONFIDENCE

By: Darlene Creamer     9th November 2018 President Cyril Ramaphosa’s recent Investment Conference was noteworthy not for the R290-billion in investments unveiled, many of which having already been in the pipeline, but for the atmosphere of renewed hope that surrounded the gathering. The event brimmed to overflowing with high-level... 

BREWING CONFIDENCE
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