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Jun 14, 2012

Bureaucratic bungling finished rhino species-book

JOHANNESBURG, June 14 (Reuters) – There was a narrow window
of opportunity to save Africa’s northern white rhinos from
extinction but bureaucratic ineptitude slammed it shut and the
species has now almost certainly vanished from the wild.

The last-ditch effort to save the animal in its final
Congolese refuge is detailed in a new book, “The Last Rhinos,”
by South African conservationist Lawrence Anthony, who died of a
heart attack in early March just weeks before it was published.

Jun 7, 2012

Worthy Cassava transformed into lucrative cash crop

JOHANNESBURG, June 7 (Reuters) – The seeds of prosperity for
some rural Africans may lie in a crop that has sustained them
with calories for centuries but has generated virtually no
wealth for their poor countries.

Cassava – with its starchy root used to make tapioca -
thrives in Africa’s tropical climates, through drought or
deluge, but maize and other crops have had distinct advantages
over the hardy tuber. Until now.

Jun 7, 2012

Book Talk: Fuller takes readers on unforgettable cocktail hour

JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) – Alexandra Fuller gained a loyal following of readers with her best-selling memoir “Don’t Let’s Go to the Dogs Tonight” about growing up in Zimbabwe during the country’s civil war and, later, Zambia.

In her fourth book, Fuller returns to her roots with a work that is part memoir, part biography of her larger-than-life mother, Nicola.

May 24, 2012

Calculating Africa’s “natural capital”

JOHANNESBURG, May 24 (Reuters) – Capital in Africa remains
scarce by any traditional measure of the term.

But conservationists say the continent is rich in “natural
capital” and argue that if this was properly harnessed, the
region would reap dividends and grow its economy and more
orthodox forms of capital.

May 23, 2012

Labour strife shuts Implats mine for second day

JOHANNESBURG, May 23 (Reuters) – The world’s largest
platinum mine, run by Impala Platinum, remained closed
for a second day on Wednesday, taking another 3,000 ounces out
of global output, as a union turf war rumbled on.

“The rival unions are still playing a game of winner takes
all. This should not be a fight to the death,” Johan Theron,
Implats head of human resources, told Reuters.

May 22, 2012

Rustenburg labour unrest cuts Implats output

JOHANNESBURG, May 22 (Reuters) – Impala Platinum,
the world’s second-largest platinum producer, said it was losing
production of 3,000 ounces a day as most workers were not
reporting for duty at its Rustenburg mine on Tuesday because of
labour unrest.

The mine, shut for six weeks earlier this year because of a
power struggle war between unions, has been hit again by fresh
clashes between the dominant National Union of Mineworkers (NUM)
and the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union

May 17, 2012

S.Africa gives gold a break as it moots mine tax hikes

JOHANNESBURG, May 17 (Reuters) – As African governments seek
to extract more revenue from their mining sectors, the
continent’s biggest economy has given gold producers a
much-needed tax break tha t removes at least one head wind from a
struggling industry.

Gold Fields, the world No. 4 bullion producer, on
Thursday became the latest South African gold miner to report
better-than-expected earnings partly on the back of the new,
lower tax regime. It benefited to the tune of close to 1 billion
rand ($120.46 million) from the change in the first quarter.

May 17, 2012

Anglo’s struggle over platinum showcases sector woes

LONDON/JOHANNESBURG, May 17 (Reuters) – Miner Anglo American
has made a priority of its struggling platinum business,
admitting earlier this year that the world’s largest primary
producer is underperforming in the face of soaring costs,
imposed safety stoppages and weak demand.

But South Africa’s politics, restive unions and a lacklustre
market mean its keenly awaited “operational review” of its Anglo
American Platinum unit, due later this year, is more
likely to mark an evolution than a revolution — and constitute
a case study in the woes holding back a battered industry.

May 14, 2012

S.Africa stocks felled by euro zone woes, gold price

JOHANNESBURG, May 14 (Reuters) – South African stocks sank
on Monday, snapping two days of gains, as Europe’s debt
imbroglio, a slumping gold price and bad results smacked
investor confidence, with Gold Fields leading blue
chips lower.

Local markets remain hostage to sentiment being driven by
the euro zone, which is putting investors off riskier emerging
market assets, but analysts do see some technical support
kicking in if local shares lose further ground.

May 14, 2012

S.Africa 2012 platinum supplies unlikely to rise-JM

JOHANNESBURG, May 14 (Reuters) – There is little prospect
for a rise in South African platinum supplies in 2012 and
shipments of the precious metal from the world’s top producer
will likely decline this year, metals refiner Johnson Matthey
said in a report on Monday.

About 80 percent of the world’s known platinum group metal
reserves, valued by Citibank at $2.2 trillion, lie in South
Africa, where the industry has been hit by labour unrest and a
government safety drive.

    • 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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