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CARBON TAX CRACKS:

By: Martin Creamer     21st September 2018 The release of the Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) promises to lower emission intensity to a point where someone should tell National Treasury to abandon its plans to introduce carbon tax, which is almost certain to result in the closure of metal smelters at a time of desperate need for job... 

CARBON TAX CRACKS:

UNENVIABLE POSITION

By: Darlene Creamer     21st September 2018 While news of yet another recession is not altogether surprising, it is nevertheless depressing and confidence sapping. Equally discouraging is the state of the discourse within the African National Congress about how best to navigate the economy out of its low-growth trap. At best the ideas lack... 

UNENVIABLE POSITION

CLEAR THE RUNWAY AND WE'LL SOAR:

By: Martin Creamer     14th September 2018 The mining sector could attract an additional R122-billion worth of investment if the policy and legislative perception lifted out of the lowest quartile of the Fraser Institute’s Policy Perception Index, Minerals Council South Africa public affairs and transformation senior executive Tebello... 

CLEAR THE RUNWAY AND WE'LL SOAR:

DREAM DEFERRED

By: Darlene Creamer     14th September 2018 A sense of gloom descended across South Africa last week, when it was confirmed that the country had slumped into recession. Immediately questions were asked about whether President Cyril Ramaphosa’s ‘New Dawn’ was actually a ‘false dawn’. What’s clear is that the many governance-induced failings... 

DANGLING THE EXPLORATION CARROT:

By: Martin Creamer     7th September 2018 Mineral Resources Minister Gwede Mantashe used his speech to the Africa Down Under conference in Perth to dangle an attractive ten-year, R20-billion carrot before junior explorers. He revealed the government’s intention to assist juniors with access to finance and told Mining Weekly that the... 

DANGLING THE EXPLORATION CARROT:

RAISING RENEWABLES

By: Darlene Creamer     7th September 2018 Energy Minister Jeff Radebe has confirmed that the least-cost pathway for new generation in South Africa is a mix of wind, solar and gas. The draft Integrated Resource Plan 2018 makes the same point, but has included five policy adjustments to cater for two coal private coal projects that have... 

RAISING RENEWABLES

PETROLEUM’S LEGISLATIVE UNBUNDLING:

By: Martin Creamer     31st August 2018 The P for petroleum in the Minerals and Petroleum Resources Development Act (MPRDA) is heading for an unbundling. Invariably honoured in the breach, mining’s dominance always took centre stage. Along came the MPRDA Amendment Bill of 2013 and suddenly petroleum was awakened from it slumber. It was... 

PETROLEUM’S LEGISLATIVE UNBUNDLING:

CAUTIONARY COLLAPSE

By: Darlene Creamer     31st August 2018 For years now, South African engineers have been warning of mounting infrastructure maintenance backlogs. However, it remains far from clear as to whether the country has any long-term strategy for managing its critical infrastructure? Following the horrific collapse of the motorway bridge in... 

CAUTIONARY COLLAPSE

DARTING AHEAD:

By: Martin Creamer     24th August 2018 Diversified mining and marketing company Glencore is darting ahead of its US Department of Justice (DoJ) and Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) mining code issues. Most of the commodities in the basket of the London- and Johannesburg-listed company are set to grow, notes Goldman Sachs Equity... 

DARTING AHEAD:

SHIFTING DECKCHAIRS

By: Darlene Creamer     24th August 2018 Recent power-cut-prone wage negotiations at Eskom were akin to watching the deckchairs being moved on the Titanic before the liner hit its fatal iceberg. It is now broadly accepted that the business is not sustainable in its current form. Yet the negotiations had all the hallmarks of ‘business as... 

SHIFTING DECKCHAIRS

DERAILING REPUTATION:

By: Martin Creamer     17th August 2018 State-owned rail enterprise Transnet has derailed its reputation by allowing six derailments, four for iron-ore and two for manganese, and rail cancellations to occur on what should be a problem-free line from the Northern Cape to the port of Saldanha. As it is, South Africa’s logistics costs are... 

DERAILING REPUTATION:

UNHAPPY SEQUEL

By: Darlene Creamer     17th August 2018 Expectations ahead of Zimbabwe’s July 30 election were somewhat elevated by the absence of Robert Mugabe from the ballot. However, events soon took on a very familiar, and unhappy, tone, with strong indications of vote rigging and with protests being violently supressed. Nevertheless, the... 

UNHAPPY SEQUEL

TIGHTROPE TRIBULATION:

By: Martin Creamer     10th August 2018 Of all industrial sectors, it is the mining sector that requires ongoing investment at a magnitude that dwarfs most other sectors. Because internal savings are insufficient to fund mining, foreign investment is a must. Mineral Resources Minister Gwede Mantashe is having to walk a tightrope and... 

TIGHTROPE TRIBULATION:

OPEN VERSUS CLOSED

By: Darlene Creamer     10th August 2018 A high degree of cynicism arose following the announcement of new Chinese investments into South Africa worth some $14.7-billion. However, the investment forms only part of a broader charm offensive by China, which senses an opportunity to exploit the gap being created by the isolationist... 

OPEN VERSUS CLOSED

INVESTMENT UNLANDED:

By: Martin Creamer     3rd August 2018 Significant mining investment is not being landed because the Mining Charter is being kept in mid-air. While some mining majors have taken their eye off South Africa completely and have opted to land their investments in more predictable mining jurisdictions, at least two majors – Glencore and... 

INVESTMENT UNLANDED:

HARD TIMES

By: Darlene Creamer     3rd August 2018 South Africa’s construction industry has come under intense pressure in recent years. The industry’s reputation suffered severely in the wake of the collusion cases. However, a potentially fatal blow has come in the form of a collapse in demand, precipitated by the politically induced slowdown of... 

HARD TIMES

LEGISLATIVE LETHARGY:

By: Martin Creamer     27th July 2018 The third Mining Charter, promised for June, will be now be gazetted “in October or November” once it has been ratified by Cabinet and finalised during a month-long extension to the public comment period to end-August, Mineral Resources Minister Gwede Mantashe has announced. In the interim,... 

LEGISLATIVE LETHARGY:

SHANK SHOTS

By: Darlene Creamer     27th July 2018 During an interview at the Trump Turnberry golf course, in Scotland, US President Donald Trump described the European Union (EU) as a “foe”. The comment promoted European council president Donald Tusk to Tweet: “America and the EU are best friends. Whoever says we are foes is spreading fake... 

SHANK SHOTS

WEALTH CREATION ON VACATION:

By: Martin Creamer     20th July 2018 Mining has great potential to create wealth across a broad front. But South Africa is nullifying mining’s wealth potential by creating a long list of legislated rent seekers that quickly slurp up the wealth well before it has even had a chance to be created. The community of wealth consumers is... 

WEALTH CREATION ON VACATION:

HEAVEN SENT

By: Darlene Creamer     20th July 2018 Wouldn’t it be wonderful if Nelson Mandela and Albertina Sisulu, whose centenaries we celebrate this month and year, could signal to us how best to tackle some of the big issues of our time. In the absence of any heaven-sent Tweets, it is surely up to all South Africans, especially our political... 

HEAVEN SENT

GROW OR MOW:

By: Martin Creamer     13th July 2018 It is not only the South African mining industry that is faced with the dilemma of growing or mowing. Other mining jurisdictions with memories of past ups and downs are faced with a similar dilemma, but not the same dilemma. In South Africa the main worries – legislation and corruption – are... 

GROW OR MOW:

PRICE HEIST

By: Darlene Creamer     13th July 2018 Temperatures are rising again around the upward trajectory of fuel prices in South Africa. The taxes and levies embedded into the prices have emerged as the main source of irritation. However, in light of South Africa’s revenue-collection problems, there is arguably no realistic chance of these... 

PRICE HEIST

EROSION OF AN INDUSTRY:

By: Martin Creamer     6th July 2018 Bit by bit, South Africa’s mining industry has been eroded over the last two decades. From the dawn of our new democracy, Treasury, for reasons best known to itself, set out to ensure that mining played a lesser part in the overall economy. Legislators followed with consistent repression and... 

EROSION OF AN INDUSTRY:

WITH FRIENDS LIKE THESE . . .

By: Darlene Creamer     6th July 2018 US President Donald Trump did the unthinkable last month by imposing trade restrictions on his closest allies on the basis that their exports posed a threat to America’s national security. The move triggered retaliatory action, along with outrage. In the meanwhile, the main target of Trump’s... 

WITH FRIENDS LIKE THESE . . .

PGM BALANCE:

By: Martin Creamer     29th June 2018 Platinum-mining companies mine a group of metals and not only platinum, which in the current period of platinum price downturn is a blessing. If current platinum mining did not have the support of record-priced palladium and rhodium, a word stronger than crisis would need to be used to describe... 

PGM BALANCE:

WRONG TARGET

By: Darlene Creamer     29th June 2018 Without question, Eskom’s new management severely misread the labour relations situation at the utility. As a result, they definitely provided the triggering for the aggressive industrial action that followed. Ironically, though, the workers targeted the wrong people – individuals who are... 

WRONG TARGET

VALUABLE REEF THAT'S NOT ALWAYS THAT FLAT

By: Martin Creamer     22nd June 2018 Some have referred to it as the ‘platreef’, playing on the Afrikaans word ‘plat’, which means flat, but more recently the rich, extremely thick orebody on the northern limb of South Africa’s platinum-endowed Igneous Bushveld Complex has come to be consistently called the flatreef. But in truth,... 

VALUABLE REEF THAT'S NOT ALWAYS THAT FLAT

RECAPTURING RUNAWAYS

By: Darlene Creamer     22nd June 2018 Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan has made it his mission to ‘recapture’ those State-owned companies that were, by all accounts, left to run amuck during the so-called ‘State capture’ era. Given the financial mess many of these companies are in, it’s far from certain whether government... 

RECAPTURING RUNAWAYS

ONE SIZE DOES NOT FIT ALL:

By: Martin Creamer     15th June 2018 The Junior Indaba has highlighted that South Africa’s one-size-fits-all approach to minerals legislation is ill-conceived. What the legislation purports to suggest is that the mining majors are on all fours with the junior exploration start-ups, which is by no means the case. The huge difference... 

ONE SIZE DOES NOT FIT ALL:

SOLAR BLOOM

By: Darlene Creamer     15th June 2018 Solar photovoltaic (PV) technology was once again the star renewable-energy performer in 2017. Newly installed capacity increased by about 33%, or around 98 GW, over the record-setting additions of 2016. The ‘Renewables 2018 Global Status Report’, published last week by REN21, estimates that more... 

SOLAR BLOOM

USE CLEAN COAL, SAVE YOUR SOUL:

By: Martin Creamer     8th June 2018 By all accounts, burning coal cleanly is now possible. The technology to do so is available. To make it effective in a coal-fired furnace like the Mpumalanga province, new technology will also have to be installed in old coal-fired power stations. At last week’s Fossil Fuel workshop on air... 

USE CLEAN COAL, SAVE YOUR SOUL:

NEW SCIENCE DAWN

By: Darlene Creamer     8th June 2018 The recent official launch of the MeerLICHT telescope is arguably an ideal scientific accompaniment to South Africa’s political ‘New Dawn’. Likewise, the Sutherland-based instrument is the perfect optical accompaniment to the MeerKAT radio telescope. In other words, it will be the ‘eyes’ to the... 

NEW SCIENCE DAWN

PALATIAL PLATINUM:

1st June 2018 Prince Harry’s choice of a platinum wedding ring is a wonderful boost for South Africa’s struggling platinum mineworkers, who currently need every bit of help they can get. As Platinum Guild International (PGI) has noted, platinum jewellery is outperforming gold in some areas. The bridal markets... 

PALATIAL PLATINUM:

FROM NEW DAWN TO . . .

By: Darlene Creamer     1st June 2018 President Cyril Ramaphosa’s workload during his first three-an-a-bit months in office has been heavy to say the least. Even before taking over as President, he needed to intervene urgently to prevent Eskom from running out of cash. The fire fighting has continued unabated since his February 15... 

FROM NEW DAWN TO . . .

GOOD FIT:

By: Martin Creamer     25th May 2018 Platinum-mining companies Lonmin and Sibanye-Stillwater make a good fit at asset level, where the abutting of their mines can unlock synergies of R1.5-billion a year and preserve 20 000 jobs. Lonmin currently employs 32 500, which will go down to by 12 600 in 2020, leaving close to 20 000, the... 

GOOD FIT:

BACK ON TRACK

By: Darlene Creamer     25th May 2018 Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan has acted decisively against the board at Transnet; a State-owned company that he claims was repurposed to enable corruption and rent seeking. Gordhan says the new interim board, which will be led by Popo Molefe, has been directed to act on the findings... 

BACK ON TRACK

INVESTMENT 'BESTIE'

By: Martin Creamer     18th May 2018 Indian mining billionaire Anil Agarwal’s association with South Africa began eight years ago when Vedanta Resources, the London-listed, India-rooted diversified mining company he founded and heads, bought Anglo American’s zinc assets, achieved payback in a couple of years and went ahead with... 

INVESTMENT 'BESTIE'

JUGGLING ACT

By: Darlene Creamer     18th May 2018 There is simply so much for President Cyril Ramaphosa to deal with at the moment that it’s little wonder he momentarily lost his cool in Parliament amid incessant heckling from the Democratic Alliance’s John Steenhuisen. For the sake of the country, however, we all need Ramaphosa at his composed... 

JUGGLING ACT
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