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Chemicals News

Omnia more than halves debt as stabilisation plan is concluded

By: Donna Slater     7th July 2020 JSE-listed diversified chemicals group Omnia Holdings reports that it achieved solid results for the financial year ended March 31, noting that this reflected the finalisation of the group’s stabilisation plan which included the successful recapitalisation of the business. Omnia’s balance sheet... 

Air Products and thyssenkrupp sign green hydrogen agreement

By: Schalk Burger     6th July 2020 NYSE-listed industrial gases multinational Air Products and industrial technology multinational thyssenkrupp on July 5 announced that they had signed an exclusive strategic cooperation agreement to develop world-scale electrolysis plants to generate green hydrogen. The two companies will... 

Sasol gives up licence to seek offshore gas in Mozambique

By: Reuters     5th July 2020 South African petrochemicals giant Sasol has opted to give up its licence to explore for gas off the Mozambique coast, the company said on Sunday. "Sasol will return Block 16/19 in its entirety to the Government of Mozambique. To this end, a withdrawal notification has already been sent to the... 

Sasol narrows immediate asset-disposal focus to ‘top ten’ list 

By: Terence Creamer     3rd July 2020 Chemicals and energy group Sasol has developed a list of ten major assets that will be prioritised for sale in the coming weeks and months as it moves to streamline the business into what is being termed ‘Sasol 2.0’, while also raising proceeds to help it reduce a $9.5-billion debt burden. In... 

Sasol narrows immediate asset-disposal focus to ‘top ten’ list
Photo by Creamer Media
Sasol CFO Paul Victor

Sasol’s asset sale programme advances with bids due for pipeline

By: Bloomberg     29th June 2020 Sasol expects binding bids within weeks for its stake in a natural gas pipeline running from Mozambique to South Africa, as the company accelerates asset sales to pay off debt, according to people familiar with the process. The bidding round underway for the Rompco 865 km gas pipeline stake... 

Sasol’s Guerbet unit at Lake Charles achieves beneficial operation

By: Tasneem Bulbulia     23rd June 2020 JSE-listed Sasol reports that the Guerbet alcohols unit at its Lake Charles Chemicals project (LCCP), in Louisiana, in the US, achieved beneficial operation on June 19. This is Sasol’s second Guerbet alcohol production site, with the other located in Brunsbuettel, Germany. 

Omnia expects to swing to full-year earnings

By: Donna Slater     22nd June 2020 Chemicals manufacturer Omnia expects to report earnings a share of between 65c and 130c for the financial year ended March 31. This represents an improvement of 111% to 121% on the loss a share of 609c reported for the prior financial year.  

Piedmont's North Carolina plans unveiled

By: Esmarie Iannucci     26th May 2020 Studies by ASX-listed Piedmont Lithium has delivered a viable alternative source for lithium hydroxide based out of the US. Piedmont on Tuesday revealed that a prefeasibility study (PFS) into a proposed lithium hydroxide chemicals plant in Kings Mountain, in North Carolina, had proven the... 

Full reopening of mining from June 1 – President Ramaphosa

By: Martin Creamer     24th May 2020 Subject to strict Covid-19 protocols, mining will be allowed to reopen fully from June 1, President Cyril Ramaphosa said on Sunday. In his address on South Africa’s response to the coronavirus pandemic, the President announced that South Africa would advance to level 3 from June 1, with an... 

Full reopening of mining from June 1 – President Ramaphosa
Photo by Creamer Media's Donna Slater
President Cyril Ramaphosa

Sasol to mull adding pipeline, Qatar plant to disposal plan

By: Bloomberg     15th May 2020 Sasol is considering additional divestments, including the potential sale of stakes in an African gas pipeline and a Middle Eastern plant, as it explores ways to reduce its $10-billion debt pile, people with knowledge of the matter said. South Africa’s biggest company by revenue is working with... 

Chamber paints bleak future

By: Tracy Hancock     15th May 2020 There remains no incentive for further investment in copper-rich Zambia’s mining industry, says the association for mining and allied companies Zambia Chamber of Mines (ZCM). In January, Mines and Minerals Development Permanent Secretary Barnaby Mulenga said government was upbeat about the... 

Chamber paints bleak future
OPTIMISTIC OUTLOOK? The Chamber of Mines production forecast is significantly below last year's total production

CEF denies nine ‘requests’ for support amount to a bailout 

By: Terence Creamer     12th May 2020 South Africa’s State-owned Central Energy Fund (CEF) has outlined an extensive list of support measures – including access to a portion of the fuel levy and carbon-tax proceeds – which it argued on Tuesday would help extricate the group from a “precarious financial position”, precipitated by... 

CEF denies nine ‘requests’ for support amount to a bailout
Photo by Creamer Media
The PetroSA refinery in Mossel Bay

Water cleaning system modified for SA’s AMD

By: Theresa Bhowan     8th May 2020 Following its attendance at the Investing in African Mining Indaba in February and, having previously conducted research on the country’s acid mine drainage (AMD) problem, Finland-based company EPSE is now involved in several mine water purification projects in South Africa. “The mining industry... 

Water cleaning system modified for SA’s AMD
TESTING 1, 2 Lab-scale tests are constructed and the chemical recipe is adjusted

Judgment reserved at Mining Charter review hearing 

By: Martin Creamer     7th May 2020 A full bench has heard the application for a judicial review of certain aspects of the Mining Charter gazetted in September 2018. Judge President Mlambo, judges Vally and  Van Der Schyff reserved judgment on the application lodged by the Minerals Council South Africa on March 27, 2019, when the... 

Judgment reserved at Mining Charter review hearing
Photo by Creamer Media
Minerals Council South Africa building in central Johannesburg.

Ontario refinery aims to disrupt existing cobalt supply chain

By: Mariaan Webb     5th May 2020 TSX-V-listed First Cobalt has announced positive feasibility study results for its cobalt refinery expansion project, in Canada, marking a key milestone in its efforts to disrupt the existing cobalt supply chain. The study shows strong asset-level economics that position the refinery to be... 

Ontario refinery aims to disrupt existing cobalt supply chain

Sasol cuts output as Covid-19 eats into fuels and chemicals demand 

By: Terence Creamer     23rd April 2020 Embattled chemicals and energy group Sasol reports that South Africa’s lockdown is having a significant impact on fuel demand, as well as demand for chemicals used in the mining and construction sectors. The JSE-listed group has, therefore, been forced to curtail production at certain plants. In... 

Sasol cuts output as Covid-19 eats into fuels and chemicals demand

Masters takes top job at Albemarle

By: Donna Slater     21st April 2020 Following the retirement of specialty chemicals company Albemarle’s chairperson, president and CEO Luke Kissam, who had to leave owing to health reasons, the company on Monday appointed, with immediate effect, Kent Masters as new chairperson, president and CEO. Kissam will stay on through June... 

Masters takes top job at Albemarle
Kent Masters

Govt permits Tharisa to continue to operate with fewer personnel 

By: Martin Creamer     9th April 2020 Chrome and platinum group metals (PGM) mining company Tharisa has received government permission to continue operating with a reduced number of personnel during the Covid-19 lockdown. Revealing this with its release on Thursday of second-quarter results for the three months to March 31, Tharisa... 

Govt permits Tharisa to continue to operate with fewer personnel
Photo by Creamer Media
Tharisa CEO Phoevos Pouroulis

Transnet scales back to only essential services, operations

By: Simone Liedtke     27th March 2020 In line with government’s implementation of a three-week lockdown of the country to reduce the spread of the Covid-19 virus, State-owned entity Transnet will be scaling down its transportation services and operations of non-essential cargo during this period. After consultation with various... 

Question marks over protracted re-entry of trimetal PGM catalysis  

By: Martin Creamer     19th March 2020 Trimetal catalysts, which use three platinum group metals (PGMs) rather than two and thereby balance PGM demand, have a multi-decade history of curbing gasoline vehicle emission, which poses question marks over why their re-adoption should be so protracted. New York-based CPM Group MD Jeffrey... 

Question marks over protracted re-entry of trimetal PGM catalysis
Photo by Creamer Media
CPM Group MD Jeffrey Christian

AECI’s acquisition of Brazilian explosives business finalised

By: Tasneem Bulbulia     18th March 2020 JSE-listed chemicals manufacturer AECI’s acquisition of an explosives business near Lorena, in the Brazilian state of São Paulo, for $6.3-million, has been concluded. The business was acquired out of business rescue and had been conditional on certain conditions precedent being fulfilled. 

Every effort must be made to ensure economy ‘does not grind to a halt’ 

By: Terence Creamer     16th March 2020 Finance Minister Tito Mboweni stressed on Monday that, before contemplating any possible stimulus package to address the negative economic effects of the Covid-19 pandemic, all efforts should be geared towards ensuring that the already weak domestic economy “does not grind to a halt”. A failure... 

Every effort must be made to ensure economy ‘does not grind to a halt’
Photo by Creamer Media's Donna Slater
Finance Minister Tito Mboweni

Billions wiped off South Africa market in minutes amid global bloodbath 

By: News24Wire      16th March 2020 The JSE’s all share index started the week with an instant loss of 6% in opening trading, as global panic selling intensified. Last week, the JSE lost 15% of its value – and suffered two of its biggest crashes in the past forty years. On Monday, the JSE’s all share index dropped by more than 6%,... 

 Billions wiped off South Africa market in minutes amid global bloodbath

Clean fuel pivotal for engine life

By: Mamaili Mamaila     13th March 2020 Clean, uncontaminated fuel is key to optimal fuel system performance and engine longevity in the mining industry, says filtration designer and manufacturer Cummins Filtration mining sales manager Tinus Naude. 

Clean fuel pivotal for engine life

New catalyst technology bodes well for platinum – Implats 

By: Martin Creamer     11th March 2020 The newly announced tri-metal catalyst technology that rebalances market demand for platinum group metals bodes well for platinum, Implats CEO Nico Muller said on Wednesday. The tri-metal catalyst technology, which involves the use of palladium, rhodium and platinum in various degrees of loading,... 

New catalyst technology bodes well for platinum – Implats
Photo by Creamer Media
Implats CEO Nico Muller

Sasol’s record plunge boosts speculation of a rights issue

By: Bloomberg     10th March 2020 Sasol’s record share plunge on Monday, coming as the oil price slumped and just days after the company credit rating was cut to junk by Moody’s Investors Service, is raising concern among investors that it may need to hold a rights offer as it struggles with a debt burden of about $8-billion. The... 

Sasol leads South African stocks to 4-year low as oil crash hits global markets 

By: Reuters     9th March 2020 South African stocks plunged to a more than four-year low on Monday, joining a global sell-off in riskier assets as oil prices collapsed more than 30%, hitting chemical and energy firm Sasol the hardest. Saudi Arabia's plans to hike crude production and slash its official selling price came after... 

Sasol leads South African stocks to 4-year low as oil crash hits global markets

Omnia announces group FD

By: Creamer Media Reporter      2nd March 2020 Chemicals group Omnia has appointed Stephan Serfontein group FD, effective March 1. Serfontein, a chartered accountant, has been with the group since January 2012 and was previously part of the executive committee at Omnia Agriculture. 

Sasol holds back on dividend as it reports big H1 earnings slump

By: Terence Creamer     24th February 2020 Energy and chemicals group Sasol reported a 72% slump in earnings to R4.5-billion in the six months to December 31, 2019, compared with the prior period. Headline earnings a share, meanwhile, decreased by 74% to R5.94 when compared with the prior period. The board also decided not to declare an... 

Sasol holds back on dividend as it reports big H1 earnings slump

Bill Gates-led fund invests in making lithium mining more sustainable

By: Bloomberg     20th February 2020 Breakthrough Energy Ventures, helmed by Bill Gates, and MIT’s The Engine fund are leading an investment round of $20-million for Lilac Solutions, a US startup aimed at making the extraction of lithium less water-intensive and more sustainable. As the world looks to cut carbon emissions, people... 

Drive package delivered to greenfield mine

7th February 2020 The last of nine units of a comprehensive drive package were successfully delivered to a major greenfield copper mining project in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) by drive and automation specialist SEW-Eurodrive. The five main 500 kW drives weighed 12 t each while the remaining four... 

Drive package delivered to greenfield mine
BIG FAN A cooling unit had to be installed to the drives because of the extreme temperatures they would encounter in the Democratic Republic of Congo

More bad news for Sasol's giant Lake Charles Chemical Plant

By: Bloomberg     31st January 2020 The bad news from Sasol’s chemical project in Louisiana keeps stacking up. South Africa’s biggest fuel and chemicals producer said the Lake Charles Chemicals Project will make a smaller contribution to earnings, cutting its guidance for the second time in five months. The stock fell as much as... 

Unit at Sasol’s Lake Charles plant remains shut after fire

By: Bloomberg     21st January 2020 Sasol is still assessing the damage from an explosion and fire at its Lake Charles plant in Louisiana a week after the incident. The explosion at the low-density polyethylene unit at Lake Charles on January 13 could be heard across southwest Louisiana and blew the hurricane doors off a fire... 

Anglo set to make low carbon fertiliser contribution 

By: Martin Creamer     20th January 2020 The polyhalite-based Poly4 product that Anglo American will market if its bid for Sirius Minerals is successful emits significantly less carbon dioxide (CO2) per tonne relative to both of the other two main fertiliser products.. Poly4 emits 93% less CO2 than the more elaborate processing of... 

Anglo set to make low carbon fertiliser contribution
Photo by Creamer Media
Duncan Wanblad

Fire, explosion latest setback for Sasol’s LCCP 

By: Tasneem Bulbulia     14th January 2020 Integrated chemicals and energy company Sasol on Tuesday confirmed that there had been an explosion and fire at the low-density polyethylene (LDPE) unit at its Lake Charles Chemicals Project (LCCP), in the US. The company said the fire had been extinguished and that all employees and contractors... 

Regional deals to drive merger activity in chemicals sector globally – AT Kearney

By: Marleny Arnoldi     13th December 2019 Most chemical industry executives believe global chemicals merger and acquisition (M&A) activity will continue to increase or stay at high levels, as a global trend of coping with challenging economic conditions. Management consultancy AT Kearney in its latest ‘Chemicals Executive M&A’ report... 

France allows cyanide processing at gold mine in French Guiana

By: Creamer Media Reporter      4th December 2019 The French government has authorised the start-up of a cyanide processing plant at a gold mine west of Cayenne, the capital of French Guiana, a decision that TSX-listed Columbus Gold hailed as a “very positive” development. “This development is a major step and a clear message that the French... 

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