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Apr 4, 2012

Lingua franca of S.Africa’s mines set to fade slowly

THEUNISSEN, South Africa, April 4 (Reuters) – In the bowels
of Gold Fields’ Beatrix mine in South Africa’s Free
State province, chief executive Nick Holland addresses the
workers, congratulating them on having an injury-free month in
their shaft during March.

Speaking English, his words are translated for the black
miners by Beatrix boss Ben Haumann into Fanagalo, the lingua
franca of South Africa’s mines which is set to get phased out.

Mar 26, 2012

Skills shortage is top industry concern: Gold Fields

JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) – A worsening shortage of skilled workers is the top worry for mining executives globally as the industry presses ahead with projects in increasingly tough and remote places, the chief executive of world No. 4 gold producer Gold Fields (GFIJ.J: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) said.

“A lot of people ask me what is my biggest concern. What keeps me awake? Having skilled people available to do the job and go to locations that ordinarily they might not be too keen to go to,” Nick Holland told the Reuters Global Mining and Metals Summit on Monday.

Mar 22, 2012

S.Africa stocks sink on resource rout, Shoprite issue

JOHANNESBURG, March 22 (Reuters) – South African stocks
ended in the red for a third straight session on Thursday as
concerns about Chinese growth hit miners and retailer Shoprite
slid after it announced it would issue new shares and
convertible bonds.

The blue-chip Top-40 index fell 1.09 percent to
29,697.66, extending Tuesday’s losses. The market was closed on
Wednesday for a public holiday.

Mar 14, 2012

Implats surrender boosts Zimbabwe ZANU-PF for poll

HARARE/JOHANNESBURG, March 14 (Reuters) – The
capitulation of a major platinum miner to Zimbabwe’s demand to
hand over a majority stake to local black investors will
embolden President Robert Mugabe’s ZANU-PF party to pressure
other foreign companies ahead of elections expected this year.

Other miners are likely be targeted to fill ZANU-PF election
campaign coffers while the policy will be wrapped in the flag of
liberation and portrayed as a hammer blow to the last remnants
of white colonial rule, analysts said.

Mar 13, 2012

Zimbabwe, Implats agree on 51 pct stake transfer

HARARE/JOHANNESBURG March 13 (Reuters) – Impala
Platinum, the world’s second-biggest platinum producer,
has bowed to Zimbabwe’s pressure to surrender a 51 percent stake
in its Zimplats unit to local black investors, the
company announced on Tuesday.

The cave-in followed months of wrangling over the ownership
requirement, which has further jolted investor
confidence in the southern African state. The demand that
foreign-owned companies, particularly miners, transfer a 51
percent stake in local operations to black investors was widely
seen as a populist tactic by President Robert Mugabe’s ZANU-PF
party in the run-up to elections expected later this year.

Mar 13, 2012

S.Africa court suspends Northam mine safety stoppage

JOHANNESBURG, March 13 (Reuters) – South Africa’s
Labour Court has suspended a safety stoppage at a mine operated
by Northam Platinum in the first corporate legal
challenge to a government drive that has cut output in the
world’s largest platinum producer, a union said.

South Africa’s department of mineral resources has upped
on-site inspections and dramatically increased its issuing of
“Section 54s” — the regulation evoked to temporarily close
mining operations for safety violations.

Mar 7, 2012

Woman miner’s murder adds fuel to South Africa safety drive

VENTERSDORP, South Africa (Reuters) – For David Msiza, South Africa’s chief mines inspector, the issue of safety underground has become personal; he believes many mining bosses just don’t care.

A surge in government-ordered safety stoppages has already hit output in the world’s largest platinum producer and the murder of a female miner underground last month means South Africa’s mines are going to come under even more scrutiny.

Mar 7, 2012

One-day strike hits S.Africa, mines grind to halt

JOHANNESBURG, March 7 (Reuters) – Tens of thousands of
South Africans joined a one-day national strike on Wednesday,
hitting mining production, as the biggest labour group in the
continent’s largest economy flexed its muscles to remind the
ruling ANC of its political clout.

Gold Fields, the world’s No. 4 producer, said its
operations had ground to a halt, with as many as 85 percent of
workers downing tools in response to the call for a strike by
the Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU).

Mar 6, 2012

Miners lead South African stocks lower

JOHANNESBURG, March 6 (Reuters) – Miners such as
Lonmin were felled by a slide in metal prices and led
South African shares lower on Tuesday, with blue chips posting
their biggest one-day loss in over 3 months.

The benchmark blue-chip Top-40 index shed 2.07
percent to 29,612.31, its biggest fall since late November,
while the broader All-Share index gave up 1.89 percent
to 33,387.04.

Feb 28, 2012

Implats strike unearths big S.Africa labour rift

JOHANNESBURG/RUSTENBURG, South Africa, Feb 28 (Reuters) -
Behind a violent strike at the world’s largest platinum mine
a battle is taking shape: union ties forged in the fight against
apartheid are fraying, and a breed of labour leader is emerging
who could destabilise industrial relations across South Africa.

The new kid on the block at Impala Platinum’s (IMPJ.J: Quote, Profile, Research) giant
Rustenburg mine near Johannesburg is the little-known
Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (AMCU).

    • 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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