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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

Mining innovation never more needed, Malawi airborne survey baits investors, Chinese back Zim ferrochrome smelting

By: Martin Creamer     7th March 2014 Mining innovation is needed to cut costs; Malawi is using its new geological survey to bait mining investors; the Chinese are investing in ferrochrome in Zimbabwe  

Aussies help out with mechanised mining, Russia helps Botswana to find diamonds, union unhappy with new CEO appointment

By: Martin Creamer     28th February 2014 Two South African mines have called in Australians to help with mechanised mining; Russian help is being brought into Botswana; and the National Union of Mineworkers may strike because of its unhappiness with the appointment of a new CEO at Northam Platinum. 

Deteriorating outlook for mined exports putting vital foreign exchange earnings at risk

By: Martin Creamer     21st February 2014 The time is now ripe to break and remake the expired business plan of South Africa's strike-hit hard-rock, narrow-reef precious metals mines that are under the cosh. 

Emissions laws best platinum ‘beneficiation’, still serious problems with Minerals Bill, Chinese importing South African crushers

By: Martin Creamer     14th February 2014 Emission laws fantastic local beneficiation route for platinum metals; serious problems linger with mining Bill; China orders crusher from South Africa 

Disclosure of payments to govts, Australia, Southern Africa ties, tin tagging returns to North Kivu

By: Martin Creamer     7th February 2014 Growing willingness to implement full disclosure on all payments to governments; move to strengthen bilateral relations between Australia and Southern Africa; and tin tagging returning to normalising North Kivu. 

Virtual reality mine design centre backed, coal research needs blue-sky approach, ideas on breaking junior funding deadlock

By: Martin Creamer     31st January 2014 Kumba Iron Ore is sponsoring a virtual reality mine design centre; a university professor believes blue-sky coal research is needed to attract more research students; and a project house mulls ways of breaking the funding deadlock facing junior miners. 

Underground coal gasification agreement, TSX grants financial hardship exemption, platinum assets in play in race to pay debt

By: Martin Creamer     24th January 2014 A new underground coal gasifiction advance; Forbes Coal fixing its finances; platinum assets may have to be sold to pay off debt 

Laudable ferrochrome energy cut, Congo iron-ore advance expected, private cash available for M&A

By: Martin Creamer     17th January 2014 A ferrochrome smelting complex has reduced its power use by 21.3%; three companies are building iron-ore mines in the Republic of Congo; and financial stress in the resources sector is creating opportunities for private-equity investment.  

Global coal demand growth calls for intensified search for clean coal solution

By: Martin Creamer     13th December 2013 This year 75 000 MW of new coal-fired power generation came on stream and in the next five years another 450 000 MW of new coal-fired power generation is scheduled to come on stream. 

President, Minerals Minister more hawkish than ever on mining reform

By: Martin Creamer     6th December 2013 President Jacob Zuma and Minerals Minister Susan Shabangu - who both spoke from the same podium at last Friday's function to mark the launch of Kalagadi Manganese’s integrated mine, sinter plant and planned smelter - were more hawkish than ever on mining reform. Shabangu said bluntly that there... 

Bright spotlight needs to be shone on how the platinum price is determined

By: Martin Creamer     29th November 2013 Despite the major under supply of platinum and strong upcoming demand, platinum prices remain at levels that leave many South African mines under water. Exactly how the price of platinum is determined – particularly in futures markets – needs to come under scrutiny. A futures market record sent... 

Platinum ‘even worse than it looks’, lagging even in replacement capex, no growth to meet strong demand

By: Martin Creamer     22nd November 2013 Platinum situation is even worse than it looks, investment has not even keeping pace with replacement requirements and now growth is insufficient to keep pace with strong upcoming demand. 

Govt, business, labour report progress towards a better mining industry

By: Martin Creamer     15th November 2013 Government, business and labour on Friday reported more progress towards making South African mining a better business in order to fulfil the requirements of the framework agreement stuck in July. Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe, who commands huge respect in industry circles, is leading the... 

South Africans need to reverse self-inflicted slippages in gold, ferrochrome and platinum

By: Martin Creamer     8th November 2013 South Africans threw away their leadership in gold mining, lost their top position in ferrochrome, and are now in the throes of throwing away their platinum crown as well. Gold production is down to 1905 levels, at 167 t a year; South Africa’s long-standing top global position in ferrochrome has... 

Mediation needed to resolve Richards Bay Coal Terminal spat

By: Martin Creamer     1st November 2013 A top mediator needs to intervene to resolve the differences between State rail authority Transnet and the private-sector-owned Richards Bay Coal Terminal (RBCT). The South African economy will lose important export revenues if this spat is not resolved. 

M&A drop imperils explorer aspirations, cadastre systems could make difference, merits of dedicated mining permit teams

By: Martin Creamer     25th October 2013 Mining acquisitions have slumped to an eight-year low; mining cadastres that can make a difference; merits of dedicated mining permit teams  

Gold mining needs more tender loving care, AngloGold builds science lab for community, Aussies invest in South African mine safety facility

By: Martin Creamer     18th October 2013 Gold mining needs more tender loving care from governments; Gold miner builds science laboratory for community; Australian company invests in South African mine safety facility 

Zimbabwe platinum refinery study complete, Gold Fields’ Barrick deal permitted, Kenya eyes coal as geothermal is too high

By: Martin Creamer     11th October 2013 Zimbabwe platinum refinery study complete; Securities and Exchange Commission fails to stop Gold Fields acquiring Barrick Gold’s Yilgarn South;Kenya turns its back on expensive geothermal power and opts for coal 

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. 

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