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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.

Mar 10, 2014

New spat emerges in South Africa’s platinum strike

JOHANNESBURG, March 10 (Reuters) – A public spat emerged on
Monday between South Africa’s labour mediator and the Chamber of
Mines over the former’s handling of talks to end an almost
seven-week strike in the platinum sector, further dashing hopes
of any breakthrough.

There are no scheduled talks between the two sides. The
squabbling between the group representing the producers and the
state mediator makes it doubtful that any government-brokered
negotiations will get off the ground again soon.

Mar 6, 2014

S.Africa’s Eskom imposes first blackouts in six years

JOHANNESBURG, March 6 (Reuters) – The South African state
power utility Eskom imposed rolling blackouts for the
first time since 2008 on Thursday, forcing rail networks and
banks to switch to emergency generators after heavy rains soaked
power station coal supplies.

The blackouts, which Eskom said would last until 2000 GMT,
come at a bad time for President Jacob Zuma and the ruling
African National Congress (ANC), with general elections in two

    • 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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