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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.

Jun 18, 2015

South Africa gold producers, unions wrangle over welfare pact

JOHANNESBURG, June 18 (Reuters) – South African gold
producers said on Thursday they would present unions with a
package of welfare-boosting measures when wage talks begin next
week, but the unions said they were interested only in money.

The talks, which include Africa’s top bullion producer
AngloGold Ashanti, Sibanye Gold and Harmony
Gold, come at a time when the industry is grappling
with depressed prices, falling production and rising costs.

May 21, 2015

S.Africa’s NUM union wants 84 pct pay increase for gold workers

JOHANNESBURG, May 21 (Reuters) – South Africa’s National
Union of Mineworkers (NUM) will push for an 84 percent rise in
basic pay for entry-level gold mining workers, a near 10
percentage-point increase on previous demands, according to
documents obtained by Reuters on Thursday.

They show that the NUM, which represents 57 percent of the
workforce in the goldmining industry, want employers to pay
entry-level workers a basic 10,500 rand ($888) a month.

Apr 23, 2015

Exclusive: South Africa mine union plans to demand gold wage hikes of 75 percent – sources

JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) – South Africa’s National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) is planning to submit demands to the gold sector next week calling for a 75-percent hike in the basic pay for entry-level workers, according to union sources familiar with the matter.

“For the basic wage at the entry level, we are planning to demand a raise to 10,000 rand ($823) a month in the first year from 5,700 rand at present,” said one NUM source, who asked not to be named. This was confirmed by a second source in the union.

Apr 15, 2015

Extreme fishing: “Tiger” hunting in hippo and croc country

KOMATIPOORT, South Africa, April 15 (Reuters) – You know the
fishing is “not run of the mill” when your guide points to the
path you’re on and says “those are hippo tracks”.

But if you are after tigerfish, you sometimes need to stray
onto a hippo-beaten path. South African fishing guide Craig
McLean calls it “extreme fishing”.

Apr 7, 2015

Russian industrial giant looks to Africa to boost exports

MOSCOW/JOHANNESBURG, April 7 (Reuters) – Russia is persuing
costly state oil and platinum projects in Africa despite an
economic crisis at home, hoping they will bolster sales,
including of arms, for businesses hit by Western sanctions over
the conflict in Ukraine.

Moscow has mostly focused on building ties with Asia since
the U.S. and European Union sanctions came into force last year,
but the Africa deals signal a desire to rebuild what was a big
market for its weapons and technology during the Soviet era.

Mar 19, 2015

New farmers take root in South Africa’s old tribal lands

LOSKOP, South Africa, March 19 (Reuters) – New farmers are
turning the soil to profit in South Africa’s old tribal
homelands as Pretoria speeds the transfer of land from whites to

Land is an emotive issue in South Africa, with most
remaining in white hands 21 years after the end of apartheid
despite the ruling African National Congress’s efforts at

Mar 19, 2015

Battered Africa gold valuations to spur mines sales

JOHANNESBURG/LONDON, March 19 (Reuters) – Some of the lowest
valuations in decades and rising pressure on Africa’s gold
producers to restructure or perish are likely to spur a wave of
acquisitions in a sector attracting a growing number of
potential buyers.

Most gold companies failed to cash in on rising gold prices
in the decade to 2011, overspending instead on costly growth
projects and loading up with debt.

    • 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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