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Apr 9, 2014

South Africa’s Exxaro says might look at Amplats’ assets

JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) – South Africa-based coal producer Exxaro (EXXJ.J: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) hopes to diversify into platinum group metals (PGMs) and is looking at opportunities which could include assets Anglo American (AAL.L: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) has signaled it might divest.

“We scouted around in PGMs and think there are some interesting opportunities that are emerging,” Mzila Mthenjane, Exxaro’s executive head of strategy, told the Reuters Africa Investment Summit on Wednesday.

Apr 3, 2014

Lonmin declares force majeure, says workers want strike to end

JOHANNESBURG, April 3 (Reuters) – Platinum producer Lonmin
has declared “force majeure” with some
contractors at its South African mines due to the effects of a
lengthy strike, meaning a drop in business for those suppliers
and a growing impact on the economy as a whole.

The announcement by Lonmin Chief Executive Ben Magara
follows similar moves by rivals Impala Platinum and
Anglo American Platinum as the 10-week stoppage over
wage demands by the Association of Mineworkers and Construction
Union (AMCU) drags on.

Mar 28, 2014

Amplats sees job cuts inevitable as strike costs mount

JOHANNESBURG, March 28 (Reuters) – Job cuts are a certainty
in South Africa’s platinum belt because of losses stemming from
a 10-week strike in the industry, the chief executive of world
No. 1 producer American Platinum said on Friday,
raising the risk of further unrest.

CEO Chris Griffith said Amplats’ Rustenburg operations,
which account for close to 20 percent of group production, would
not make a profit this year and would likely be first in line
for job cuts.

Mar 26, 2014

South Africa mediator to resume talks with striking platinum union

JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) – South Africa’s government mediator said it will meet with the striking Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (AMCU) on Wednesday to restart talks aimed at ending a crippling platinum strike now entering its tenth week.

The Commission for Conciliation Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) also said in a statement it would separately meet companies Anglo American Platinum, Impala Platinum and Lonmin this week.

Mar 20, 2014

S.Africa’s gold sector spawns “made in Lesotho” sushi

KATSE DAM, Lesotho, March 20 (Reuters) – The idea of
Japanese consumers eating sushi exported from a tiny African
country with no coastline may sound improbable, but the kingdom
of Lesotho is pulling it off.

Hatched in the boardroom of South African bullion producer
Gold Fields, a project called Highlands Trout is now
exporting 2,000 tonnes of rainbow trout a year, mainly to
Japanese supermarket chain CGC.

Mar 20, 2014

Mine strike hits the micro and macro in S.African economy

RUSTENBURG, South Africa, March 20 (Reuters) – As South
Africa’s biggest post-apartheid mine strike marks its eighth
week on Thursday, it is already denting growth and export
earnings, and many of those affected are having to sell their
most prized possessions to make ends meet.

In an informal bar near the platinum belt city of
Rustenburg, striking miner Oupa Majodina holds up his cell phone
to show a photo of his pride and joy: his cattle.

Mar 17, 2014

Losses mount as S.Africa faces biggest post-apartheid mine strike

JOHANNESBURG, March 17 (Reuters) – With no end in sight,
South Africa’s platinum strike is set to become the biggest
single stoppage to hit the country’s mining sector since the end
of apartheid in 1994, and now threatens the viability of an
industry already in deep trouble.

Revenue and production losses look sure to top those
experienced in 2012, when a wave of rolling, wildcat strikes
pushed Anglo American Platinum into the red and forced
Lonmin into a rights issue to shore up its finances.

Mar 13, 2014

Rare China-backed South Africa platinum project on track

JOHANNESBURG, March 13 (Reuters) – With a seven-week strike
all but crippling South Africa’s platinum sector, depressing
prices and pushing up costs, it may seem reckless to build a new
project to mine the metal.

But Wesizwe Platinum, backed by Chinese money, is
pressing on with its mine and on Thursday said it had moved its
target date for full production up by two years to 2020.

Mar 13, 2014

Scenic warm-up for the “Big One”, Lesotho marathon poses own challenges

KATSE DAM, Lesotho, March 13 (Reuters) – The gorgeous
scenery is a welcome distraction from the aches in your legs as
you run along a dirt road twisting through African villages and
up hills so steep you can’t see the tops.

Welcome to the Highlands Trout Mountain Challenge in the
southern African kingdom of Lesotho. Sponsored by and taking its
name from a company that exports trout to Japan, it is one of
the newest entries in a small but growing global phenomenon of
unusual or extreme marathon events.

Mar 10, 2014

Sasol keen for piece of S.Africa shale gas action

JOHANNESBURG, March 10 (Reuters) – South African
petrochemicals group Sasol Ltd is keen to invest in a
domestic shale industry once it gets off the ground, its chief
executive said, in a potential challenge to oil major Royal
Dutch Shell.

South Africa’s cabinet proposed new regulations to govern
exploration for shale gas late last year after it lifted a 2012
moratorium on the activity in the central Karoo region.

    • About Ed

      "I cover commodities in southerrn Africa, a region that I have returned to after spending over four years covering religion, politics and the Great Recession in America. I am a Canadian citizen and grew up in Nova Scotia."
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