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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

Editorial Insight

Mining pays double its GDP share in tax, earns half of SA’s foreign exchange, spends billions locally

By: Martin Creamer     4th October 2013 South Africa's mining sector is a substantial contributor to the government and society in the form of its tax contribution, it earns more than any other local industry in foreign exchange, and 80% of its expenditure goes into the local economy. In 2012, mining paid R21.4-billion or 14.1% of... 

Beneficiation lip service as hands-on-hips South Africa watches China usurp global ferrochrome edge

By: Martin Creamer     27th September 2013 South Africa preaches beneficiation but it is certainly not practising it in the chrome mining space. Instead, with its hands on its hips, it is watching the Chinese ascend to the top spot in ferrochrome, which forms the beneficiation baseline of the chrome-mining value chain. South Africa has a... 

Big government infrastructure investment dead in the water without mining’s colossal contribution

By: Martin Creamer     20th September 2013 The government has earmarked R845-billion for capital projects and its State-owned acolytes Eskom and Transnet another R400-million. Such huge capital expenditure is only economically feasible if there is an anchor user capable of paying most of the bills. A point that the Chamber of Mines makes... 

Mining industry suffering stakeholder-inflicted value destruction

By: Martin Creamer     13th September 2013 From 2007 to January 2013, the All-Share Index of the Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE) rose by around 60%. In doing so, it actually outperformed the New York Stock Exchange in the same period. But, as Chamber of Mines president Mark Cutifani pointed out at the recent Mining Lekgotla, mining... 

Already more than enough risk in mining without stakeholders adding to it

By: Martin Creamer     6th September 2013 Better understanding is needed about the economics of mining and the conditions required to invest in uncertain outcomes. Miners have to make large capital decisions with limited knowledge because they invariably have a relatively small percentage of information about the deposit to be mined.... 

Capital drought sets in as mining’s equity model hits breaking point

By: Martin Creamer     30th August 2013 Mining finance dropped 56% in the June quarter, according to the latest State of the Market: Mining and Finance Report of IntierraRMG. The mining finance environment became even more difficult in the three months to end-June than it was in 2013’s extremely challenging first quarter. Falling... 

Gold price of $1 500/oz needed to cover all-in costs

By: Martin Creamer     23rd August 2013 The all-in cost of gold production under the World Gold Council's new all-in cost metric is some $1 500/oz at a time of the gold price being a good $130/oz below that at the time of going to press. Return on equity and return on capital employed of gold mining companies have been in decline for... 

Gold: even best managers can fail under enforced price-taking scenario

By: Martin Creamer     16th August 2013 The gold mining industry is a price taker and not a price maker, and therein lies the rub as South Africa’s gold mines take a beating under the unexpectedly low gold price scenario. Even the best manager in the world can do little if he is unable to influence the price received for the goods his... 

Complex amendments to MPRDA set to delay implementation, again!

By: Martin Creamer     9th August 2013 For several years now, the South African mining industry has been trying to come to terms with the Minerals and Petroleum Resources Development Act (MPRDA), a difficult Act that changed the law to a great extent. The proposed changes to the MPRDA put forward in 2007 and 2008 were just shelved... 

Mining must catch up with global industrial, commercial prowess, says new Anglo CEO

By: Martin Creamer     2nd August 2013 Mining processes have remained fundamentally unchanged for decades, which has put the industry years behind the manufacturing sector, says new Anglo American CEO Mark Cutifani, who also wants mining to catch up commercially and logistically. Cutifani wants his new charge to think far more like... 

Worst time for more gold industry cost increases

By: Martin Creamer     26th July 2013 It is probably the worst time for South African gold mining to face more cost increases. The Chamber of Mines says its members are viewing the potential of increased costs with “trepidation”. With the industry already in crisis, the current huge wage demands could be the last straw that breaks... 

Coal ‘cliff’ of major concern as Eskom enters un-contracted waters

By: Martin Creamer     19th July 2013 Commentators are concerned about what is being termed the Eskom coal “cliff” 2015. Their concern stems from Eskom’s need to source 60-million tons of new coal capacity a year in a very short time. The findings of the South African Coal Roadmap, which are graphically illustrated on pages 12 and... 

South Africa’s gold production now lower than Peru’s

By: Martin Creamer     12th July 2013 With the collapse of the gold price and the sector’s tough wage talks under way, one wonders just where South Africa gold production is heading. Even as things stand, South Africa’s status as a gold producer has taken a big knock. From being the world’s largest gold producer only six years ago,... 

Workers committees remain wild card in South African mining’s search for lasting peace and stability

By: Martin Creamer     5th July 2013 Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe expresses strong confidence that all parties will honour the important new framework for sustainable South African mining. It was the Deputy President himself who led the who’s who of South African mining in the meticulous drawing up the framework’s draft on... 

Wage talks may test mining’s latest peace and stability resolve

By: Martin Creamer     28th June 2013 The latest united front against intimidation in the mining sector may be rigorously tested during the upcoming wage talks. While the who’s who of mining met and engendered considerable confidence with the agreed new draft document, much hinges on behaviour during the upcoming pay negotiations.... 

‘Copy-and-paste’ template developed for recovery of diamonds from old dumps

By: Martin Creamer     21st June 2013 The modular tailings treatment project (MTTP), which is currently being built at Debswana’s Jwaneng diamond mine in Botswana, is seen as a "copy-and-paste-type template" for rollout at other group mines. The initial commissioning of the MTTP is expected in the next few months. 

Confidence growing that new iron product will hit ground running

By: Martin Creamer     14th June 2013 Commercialisation of the Finesmelt technology, which makes use of a large stockpile of iron-bearing magnetite material on surface at Palabora Mining in Limpopo, appears imminent. “We’re going to commission it this month,” Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) mining and beneficiation industry... 

Govt falls foursquare behind South African mining

By: Martin Creamer     7th June 2013 Government’s prolonged period of lukewarm facilitation of the South African mining industry has at last given way to red-hot support. Insiders say that the meaningful turn took place a fortnight ago when, for whatever reason, the penny dropped that the South African mining industry is an... 

Minerals Minister makes no bones about mines of future being less labour-intensive

By: Martin Creamer     31st May 2013 Minerals Minister Susan Shabangu made no bones about the mines of the future being less labour intensive when she addressed the central executive committee of the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) at the weekend. The former unionist was also unequivocal about the fate of migrant labour. 

Ivanplats’ Africa confidence, new Botswana kimberlite, mining, farming coexistence

By: Martin Creamer     24th May 2013 Ivanplats is moving to finalise its right to mine South Africa’s platinum- and coproduct-rich Platreef; TSX-V-listed explorer Pangolin Diamonds reports the discovery of new kimberlite in Botswana;and Australian case studies show how mining and agriculture can work together. 

‘What Amplats has announced other mining companies will be forced to replicate until nobody’s left standing’

By: Martin Creamer     17th May 2013 After agonisingly long consultations with government, the troubled platinum company, Anglo American Platinum (Amplats), lowered the number of employees that it planned to retrench to 6 000 from the controversial 14 000, and at the same time announced that it would compress its Rustenburg... 

Mining investors need new injection of confidence after ‘miserable year’

By: Martin Creamer     10th May 2013 “I don't know if we’re at the bottom, but it feels like we’re getting close. From a returns perspective, the risks look asymmetric to the upside,” says Liberum Capital mining head Michael Rawlinson of the new investment opportunities that are developing in mining investment after what has he... 

Is underground coal gasification ‘ugly duckling’ potential swan?

By: Martin Creamer     3rd May 2013 The so-called underground coal gasification 'ugly duckling' appears to have the potential to be a useful swan, not only in South Africa, but in countries including Botswana, Mozambique and even Namibia, a Fossil Fuel Foundation workshop has heard in Johannesburg.  

Shale gas resource, dismissal fears arise, China-Africa collision

By: Martin Creamer     26th April 2013 Exploration needs to go ahead to determine how much of the shale gas in South Africa’s Karoo is commercially viable; law firm fears dismissals as workers go it alone; an executive warns of an economic head-on collision between Chinese business imperatives and Africa’s aspirations to derive more... 

What’s South Africa doing to become mining finance centre for Africa?

By: Martin Creamer     19th April 2013 The Cameroon-Congo-Gabon region is being likened to Australia’s iron-ore-rich Pilbara and the coking-coal resources of Mozambique-South Africa-Zimbabwe to Australia’s Bowen Basin. It is said to be only a matter of time before the Democratic Republic of Congo-Zambia region overtakes Chile as the... 

Why South Africa’s mining industry is indispensable

By: Martin Creamer     12th April 2013 Without coal mining, there would be no electricity and alternatives like use turbines packed with mined ingredients; cellphones can't function without eight mined metals and minerals, and cars need ten mined products. 

High price of nationalisation, R1bn iron-ore drill contract, Wits’ acid water membrane

By: Martin Creamer     5th April 2013 State-centric policies can lose resource-rich countries a fortune; JSE-listed Master Drilling is providing services of Kumba Iron Ore; and local researchers have come up with a membrane to tackle acid mine drainage 

Coking coal bonanza, gold miner buys coal, coal funding quest

By: Martin Creamer     29th March 2013 Makhado has hard coking coal, gold miner Village has bought into thermal coal company Continental and Resgen is mulling alternative funding for its Boikarabelo coal project. 

Anglo American is a South African company, Minerals Minister reminds new CEO

By: Martin Creamer     22nd March 2013 “Mark, this Anglo American plc, it’s ours. It’s a South African company,” Minerals Minister Susan Shabangu reminded incoming Anglo American CEO Mark Cutifani at a Chamber of Mines function in his honour. “We hope you’ll make sure that it remains South African,” the Minister added. Her comments... 

Resource nationalism thread weaving its way through African continent

By: Martin Creamer     15th March 2013 Mining law specialist Peter Leon took the opportunity to tell the story of the growth of resource nationalism on the continent of Africa when he addressed MineAfrica’s 11th annual seminar in Toronto last week. Webber Wentzel’s Africa mining head used the platform of the large Prospectors and... 

JSE hurt by migration, benefits of confidence, electricity tariff halved

By: Martin Creamer     8th March 2013 South Africa’s JSE being hurt by South African companies migrating their primary listings to foreign stock exchanges; investor confidence in South Africa must be restored; and the Chamber of Mines welcomes the halving of the proposed electricity tariff increase.  

Clean coal a must, cutters want diamonds, mine using solar power

By: Martin Creamer     22nd February 2013 Carbon capture and storage is a must if global temperature is to be limited to a 2 °C-only rise by 2020; more diamonds should be made available for local cutting; and a chrome mine in South Africa’s Limpopo province is using solar power. 

Politics shaping minerals supply, market ‘overly pessimistic’, platinum’s ’90s hard work lost

By: Martin Creamer     15th February 2013 Politics is shaping world minerals supply; the global commodities market is “overly pessimistic”; and the hard work that the South African platinum industry did in the 1990s has been thrown away.  

Serious lack of coal supply for Eskom – Roadmap

By: Martin Creamer     8th February 2013 Coal will remain one of the top two primary energy sources in the world until 2035, says South African Coal Roadmap steering committee chairperson Ian Hall. In the last ten years, coal has accounted for 45% of all energy demand growth in the world and in the run up to 2035, this growth for coal... 

Chinese fund platinum project, workers uplifting themselves, new diamond mine shaping up

By: Martin Creamer     1st February 2013 The China Development Bank has approved a $650-million loan for the development of Wesizwe’s new Bakubung platinum project; mineworkers are accrediting their own further-education-and-training college; and Diamond junior DiamondCorp has started work on the development of 47 level at its... 

Harmony’s help appeal, aluminium smelter fall, forensic diamond review

By: Martin Creamer     18th January 2013 Gold major Harmony took out a large advertisement at the weekend appealing for all-inclusive help at its troubled Kusasalethu gold mine; income of diversified miner BHP Billiton’s two aluminium smelters could fall in the half-year ending June; and South Africa’s State-owned Industrial Development... 

Nine platinum shafts closed, platinum M&A opportunities, tough Amplats action on way

By: Martin Creamer     14th December 2012 Nine platinum shafts have closed in the last six months; merger-and-acquisition opportunities are surfacing in platinum mining; and Anglo American Platinum has let it be known that tough action is on the way to right-size and reshape the business. 

Align, mine and shine, new coal mine planned, new Eskom buy-back

By: Martin Creamer     7th December 2012 The mining sector has the potential to multiply indirect job creation; ASX coal explorer ZYL is planning a new anthracite mine in Mpumalanga; and Ferrochrome producer Hernic has voluntarily shut two of its De Kroon furnaces until March.  

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