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Jul 27, 2015

In Africa’s ‘cradle,’ an old fossil site yields new finds

KROMDRAAI, South Africa (Reuters) – Crouched in a shallow square grid dug into the red African earth, American graduate student Sarah Edlund uses a hand brush to scrape soil into a dustpan.

She is uncovering scraping tools of a different kind — implements fashioned from quartz that were used 100,000 years ago to prepare animal hides.

Jul 24, 2015

Lonmin says 6,000 S.Africa jobs at risk in proposed restructuring

JOHANNESBURG, July 24 (Reuters) – Platinum producer Lonmin
is planning to close or mothball several mine shafts in
a bid to survive plunging prices, putting 6,000 South African
jobs at risk and sending its shares to a historic low.

The platinum sector has been under huge stress, with the
spot price at 6-1/2 year lows below $1,000 an ounce,
while power and labour costs in South Africa have risen sharply.

Jul 20, 2015

Weak platinum price hampers Amplats’ drive to shed assets

JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) – Tumbling metals prices are delaying Anglo American Platinum’s (AMSJ.J: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) (Amplats) plan to divest its labor-intensive Rustenburg and Union operations, with the South African miner yet to decide between a sale or flotation, it said on Monday.

Amplats, the world’s biggest platinum producer, wants to rid itself of the mines — the epicenter of an often violent five-month strike last year — to improve profitability and focus more on mechanized mining.

Jul 6, 2015

Milk, paint, wild beasts and an ancient African mystery

JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) – Around 49,000 years ago, someone in what is today South Africa mixed milk with ochre to produce a paint mixture.

What the paint was used for remains unknown. But what is startling is that it was made earlier than the first previously know use of the paint – 47,000 years earlier.

Jul 6, 2015

South African union may take legal action over Glencore layoffs

JOHANNESBURG, July 6 (Reuters) – South Africa’s National
Union of Mineworkers is considering taking legal action against
the government if Glencore cuts over 600 jobs at its
Optimum Coal unit, it said on Monday.

Glencore said last week it would proceed with a plan to
close some of its Optimum Coal operations because of weak
prices.

Jul 6, 2015

South Africa reaps more crops, cuts jobs in twin farm revolution

VILJOENSKROON, South Africa (Reuters) – South African farmer Cobus van Coller scans the flashing computer screen in the cab of his harvester. As the machine mows down corn stalks, numbers instantly update, giving the precise yield and moisture levels on each part of his field.

“This shows you if you’re going to make money,” he said in a demonstration of “precision” farming — the use of technology to target farm inputs precisely to maximize profit.

Jul 6, 2015

Analysis – South Africa reaps more crops, cuts jobs in twin farm revolution

VILJOENSKROON, South Africa (Reuters) – South African farmer Cobus van Coller scans the flashing computer screen in the cab of his harvester. As the machine mows down corn stalks, numbers instantly update, giving the precise yield and moisture levels on each part of his field.

“This shows you if you’re going to make money,” he said in a demonstration of “precision” farming — the use of technology to target farm inputs precisely to maximise profit.

Jul 1, 2015

South Africa’s platinum sector faces crunch time as prices slide

JOHANNESBURG/LONDON, July 1 (Reuters) – South Africa’s
platinum sector is at a crucial juncture as the metal’s price,
near six-year lows, maintains a steady decline, with analysts
now contemplating a move below $1,000 an ounce.

Platinum has fallen nearly 10 percent so far this
year, and at current prices of less than $1,100 an ounce, many
shafts in the world’s top producing country are losing money.

Jun 25, 2015

Book Talk: The parallel worlds of Angola’s oil oligarchs

JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) – Oxford academic Ricardo Soares de Oliveira contends Angola is a graft-ridden, petro state ruled by a party that has siphoned off or squandered oil dollars on a grand scale, while most Angolans live in abject poverty.

The narrative is disputed and denied by Angolan officialdom.

In “Magnificent and Beggar Land: Angola Since the Civil War”, Soares de Oliveira peels away what he says are layers of secrecy around the president and the “parallel state” built with the ruling MPLA, to shows how he says Jose Eduardo dos Santos, who has ruled since 1979, captured the oil revenue stream.

Jun 21, 2015

New South Africa mine union boss decries ‘apartheid’ wage system

WESTONARIA, South Africa (Reuters) – The newly elected head of South Africa’s biggest mine union said on Sunday that his members were still being paid “apartheid” wages, signaling a hard line ahead of gold sector wage talks due to start on Monday.

David Sipunzi, formerly a regional leader from the gold-producing Free State province, was elected general secretary of the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) earlier this month, replacing veteran Frans Baleni.

    • 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."
      Joined Reuters:
      1995
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