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Martin Creamer

Martin Creamer

Martin Creamer is Creamer Media Publishing Editor of Engineering News and Mining Weekly.

Tel: +2711 622 3744

Email: newsdesk@engineeringnews.co.za

First Word

Time to build back better as we fight off Covid

By: Martin Creamer     15th January 2021 A well-known chairperson was once criticised for spending much of his time looking out of the window of the high-rise corporate building that his company occupied. He would do so in deep thought, with his hands behind his back. This intense contemplation turned out to be of great benefit to the... 

African Continental Free Trade deal must get rid of those long truck queues at border posts

By: Martin Creamer     11th December 2020 When I passed through a few Southern African border posts last year, I was disappointed to see the long queues of trucks waiting to get through customs. The one of truck driver I spoke to complained that the hold ups invariably take days. I thought to myself that it would be advantageous to... 

South Africans must focus unflinchingly on creating economic growth and jobs

By: Martin Creamer     4th December 2020 The focus has got to be unflinching. We South Africans must not allow ourselves to be diverted away from creating economic growth and jobs. Heaven knows how huge many of our problems are; some of them can only be described as being frighteningly colossal. But each and every one of them can be... 

If Egypt is anything to go by, South Africa could see brisk exploration response

By: Martin Creamer     27th November 2020 Egypt awarded 82 exploration blocks to 11 companies in an international bid round for mineral exploration that took place briskly, with foreign investors quick to take part. Egypt is targeting $1-billion in investment in the mining sector and has opened up a second bid round for gold and mineral... 

South Africans, please seize the green hydrogen opportunity with far greater enthusiasm

By: Martin Creamer     20th November 2020 Green hydrogen is selling itself globally. Climate change mitigation has created the demand. It was good to hear Kumba Iron Ore say that it is investigating the use of green hydrogen for its mining activities. It was also good that Sasol included green hydrogen in its low-carbon reset hopes. But... 

At last, the Witwatersrand Gold Basin is being targeted once more

By: Martin Creamer     13th November 2020 When it comes to gold, additional exploration in South Africa’s Witwatersrand Gold Basin is not as needed as with other metals and minerals. The Wits Gold Basin has been so thoroughly explored that it’s more a question of going through bottom drawers to find shallow gold prospects. It’s good that... 

South Africa must protect its national chrome patrimony by supporting ferrochrome

By: Martin Creamer     6th November 2020 South Africa has more chrome than any other country, which is why it made such sense to add value to it in South Africa and turn chromite into ferrochrome, at many times the price and many times the jobs. But it did so when electricity was cheap. Currently Eskom’s expensive electricity and... 

Excessive dividend demand is ripping heart out of mining’s future

By: Martin Creamer     23rd October 2020 Mining majors are putting emphasis on dividends over capital investment and it will come back to haunt them. Those with long enough memories will recall what happened to Rand Mines, which ended up with a strategy of dying with dignity. Every single day that mining companies take something out of... 

Govt, stop charging alluvial miners an arm and a leg in regulatory fees

By: Martin Creamer     16th October 2020 The regulatory charges imposed on small miners by the South African government are absurd. Alluvial diamond miners are charged within the same framework as the mining majors. The mere application for a small 5 ha mining permit, before the applicant has even bought a pick and shovel, costs R150... 

Gear up to the reality of the circular economy being the new normal

By: Martin Creamer     9th October 2020 There’s money in muck, we used to say, but failed to do enough to ensure that muck was collected efficiently. Now all that has to change. If you’re in the business of material production, what you put out there must be recycled, both in the interests of environmental protection and enterprise... 

This time round let’s do it, South Africa, and never have to look back

By: Martin Creamer     2nd October 2020 South Africans were quick off the mark with the public-private grid-tied renewable energy programme, then we fell behind. We were again quick off the mark with green hydrogen, then we fell behind. In the 70s, our platinum led the way in cleaning the air above all the big cities of the world, then... 

Platinum must grab on to the coattails of the hydrogen economy with all the strength that it has

By: Martin Creamer     25th September 2020 A few years back, platinum group metals mining analysts would fight shy of including hydrogen economy pull in their demand calculations. Today, that’s all changed and they’re falling over themselves to include every last bit of it in future value data. This comes at a time when governments the... 

South Africa must seize its huge new-world opportunities immediately

By: Martin Creamer     18th September 2020 If we work together, we can treble the size of our platinum industry. Why don’t we? Minerals Council South Africa has an already-drafted plan to take South Africa from the $11-billion -a-year business that it is today to the $35-billion-a-year, yes dollar, business it could be. The hydrogen, fuel... 

South Africa Inc is duty-bound to be constructive on all fronts

By: Martin Creamer     11th September 2020 The world hates nitrous oxide smog and rhodium can take it away. But there’s not enough rhodium to meet galloping demand and the upshot is that the rhodium price has rocketed out of sight. South Africa hosts 90% of the planet’s rhodium and mining more upper group two reef will also mean more... 

Hats off to Namibia and Botswana for going solar

By: Martin Creamer     4th September 2020 Namibia and Botswana deserve pats on the back for going big on solar. After all, both have lots of sun and sand, and Namibia has sea to boot. From the seawater, green hydrogen can be electrolysed with the help of excess solar power. From Namibia’s well-established harbours, consideration could... 

Well done to Germany for including Southern Africa in its green hydrogen strategy

By: Martin Creamer     28th August 2020 Hats off to Germany for funding a green hydrogen atlas initiative across 12 Southern African states. Germany is to be credited, too, for wasting no time in making green hydrogen central to its economic recovery strategy. A country like Namibia, for example, has very hot sun, abundant land,... 

South Africa must take steps to sustain its invaluable gold mining industry

By: Martin Creamer     21st August 2020 When I heard that Japan is opening its doors to gold exploration, I got thinking about how wonderful it would be right now if South Africa was still the biggest gold producer in the world. Gold pulls an economy up when most of the other sectors are down, like right now. Given our rich gold... 

Grow the industrial base using new technologies that make low volumes competitive

By: Martin Creamer     14th August 2020 New opportunities for local industrialisation are unfolding, thanks to modern technologies that ensure that even low-volume production can be globally competitive. South Africa must look to using these technologies to grow its manufacturing base. Already under way are focused interventions by the... 

Kumba doing right thing to explore in our wonderfully endowed Northern Cape

By: Martin Creamer     7th August 2020 Hats off to Anglo American group company Kumba Iron Ore, led by CEO Themba Mkhwanazi, for doing such exciting mining exploration in our wonderfully prospective Northern Cape. South Africa needs so much more of this kind of exploration, as this month’s document by the economic transformation... 

South Africa must incentivise mining exploration, the ANC is 100% correct

By: Martin Creamer     24th July 2020 As pointed out the well-received 30-page discussion document of the economic transformation committee, the South African mining industry has in recent years experienced falling levels of investment and exploration, job losses, and increased cost pressures, but despite these problems, South Africa... 

South Africa needs a hydrogen roadmap and it needs one fast

By: Martin Creamer     17th July 2020 In April 2016, I listened to then Science and Technology Minister Naledi Pandor say that the South African government was working on a fuel cell and hydrogen roadmap. She was speaking at the launch of a hydrogen refuelling station at Impala Platinum in Springs. “It’s about an economic development... 

SA Inc must get going fast to benefit optimally from the great green electricity rush

By: Martin Creamer     10th July 2020 No country in the world is better placed than South Africa to take optimal advantage of the world’s colossal surge towards clean electricity. Virtually every day now, far-reaching strategic strides are being taken to entrench green energy an integral part of economic recovery. To go green, the... 

Hurry up with the 88 chosen projects and list them for all to see

By: Martin Creamer     3rd July 2020 The sentiment at last week’ virtual Presidential sustainable infrastructure development symposium was absolutely correct, namely that the South African economy needs to be propelled forward by the development of infrastructure, a world-proven method of taking a country's economy forward. But the... 

Slow border logistics is costing Africa a fortune and must be brought to an end

By: Martin Creamer     26th June 2020 When I last visited Zimbabwe, Zambia and Botswana, I was horrified by the dreadfully long queues of heavily-laden trucks waiting to cross through border posts. I chatted to a few of the truck drivers and they complained bitterly about their long waits. It’s simply nonsensical and a gross brake on... 

Decarbonising metal, even only partly, can earn you a price premium

By: Martin Creamer     19th June 2020 For the first time in its 143-year history, the London Metals Exchange (LME) will be using greenness and cleanness as a trading factor. Aluminium produced with clean electricity will receive a low-carbon halo, and aluminium produced with the usual fire and brimstone will occupy an inferior rung.... 

Unemployed could help flatten climate curve by planting trees

By: Martin Creamer     12th June 2020 Pakistan is reportedly giving tree-planting jobs to workers laid off by Covid-19. The initiative is part of a programme to grow ten billion trees that can absorb carbon and clean the air. This is an example of the type of green recovery South Africa can embark on in the aftermath of the pandemic,... 

We must seize upon in-country self-sufficiency opportunities that Covid presents

By: Martin Creamer     5th June 2020 The Covid-19 pandemic is forcing countries to look inward economically because of the logistical curbs that the coronavirus imposes on them. Simultaneously, Covid-19 is strengthening the hand of major global investment companies to withdraw from investments that fail to uphold environmental,... 

Curbing pollution of all kinds must become a South African imperative

By: Martin Creamer     29th May 2020 Experiencing clean skies during lockdown has been inspiring. Fewer vehicles on the highways and byways has meant less pollution and easier breathing. As South Africans, we should no longer tolerate vehicles without catalytic converters. Government should legislate soonest to introduce strict... 

Taking rapid steps to mitigate climate change is the right thing to do

By: Martin Creamer     22nd May 2020 A presentation that Anglo American gave to the Bank of America global mining and metals conference this month had a very interesting graphic that told a big story. It showed crop nutrients replacing thermal coal in the company’s portfolio of assets. A crop nutrients mine has been bought and... 

The main theme of post-Covid economic bounce-back must be green

By: Martin Creamer     15th May 2020 The coronavirus has emphasised the importance of human health to the world economy. The old saying that your health is your wealth has never rung more true. By attacking good health, Covid-19 is destroying wealth left, right and centre. As it does so, global calls are being made for a green... 

Let’s forge a new and vibrant post-virus economy together

By: Martin Creamer     8th May 2020 The exceptional collective energy that South Africans are showing in tackling the coronavirus must not be lost but instead harnessed to forge a new post-virus economy that reflects the true capacity of the South African people. Going forward, there is a need to take new local opportunities at a... 

One set of Covid-19 mining regulations has already proved 100% wrong

By: Martin Creamer     1st May 2020 The Covid-19 regulations of the Ontario provincial government of Canada, which declared mining an essential service, forced South Africa’s Implats to continue mining at its mechanised Lac des Iles mine, in Canada – but at its peril. In sharp contrast, South Africa’s regulations demanded that... 

Well done, South Africa, for Covid-19 generosity and decisiveness

By: Martin Creamer     24th April 2020 South Africa’s billionaires and the country’s major corporate companies need ongoing pats on the back for showing such wonderful generosity during the Covid-19 crisis. The R1-billion rand pledged by Dr Patrice Motsepe and wife Dr Precious Moloi-Motsepe, and the R1-billion pledges from Nicky and... 

Our virus-hit world must now introduce a Basel III equivalent in global health

By: Martin Creamer     17th April 2020 Thanks goodness for Basel. Banks kicked and screamed when it was imposed on them after the 2008 financial crisis but it is standing the world of banking in good stead during the coronavirus pandemic, particularly through the capital and liquidity provisions laid down in Basel III. What must... 

Flattening the climate change curve with coronavirus-type vigour is way to go

By: Martin Creamer     10th April 2020 It is right that health and safety have risen to the top of world agendas. The harsh impact of the coronavirus has correctly focused minds towards acting fast ahead of climate change impacting our grandchildren. “If we don’t take climate change issues very, very seriously, and see it as being... 

Eskom must sign contracts that ensure smart coal- to-renewables transition

By: Martin Creamer     3rd April 2020 One major South African coal mining company is already transitioning to renewable energy by generating sun and wind energy for sale on the national grid. It has a strategy of mining increasingly lower volumes of thermal coal and generating increasingly higher volumes of sun and wind energy. This... 

It’s crazy that South Africa has such low vehicle emission standards

By: Martin Creamer     27th March 2020 Who in their right mind has sat back for so many years and allowed vehicles to pollute South Africa’s air so dreadfully? It’s bad enough that our notorious public sector has failed to bring petrol and diesel refining up to global speed, but what about the private sector treating its South African... 

Platinum takes two steps forward as PGMs take an explosive step backwards

By: Martin Creamer     20th March 2020 Platinum took two steps forward this week with the launch of the new Big Five platinum coin and the announcement of the new technology to give over-supplied platinum a gasoline engine show in. However, platinum group metals (PGMs) as a whole took an explosive step backwards as a result of the... 

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