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Apr 18, 2012

Africa’s demographics: dividend or disaster?

JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) – Wanted: Investors for young, hot and thirsty continent. Population to double in 40 years. Poor, but less than it was. Interested parties must think long term.

Africa’s demographic profile could make it a dream for retailers if spending power continues to rise – or an unfolding disaster for everyone if the labor market fails to absorb its swelling ranks of young people.

Apr 16, 2012

Zimbabwe: local mine ownership drive near complete

JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) – Zimbabwe’s empowerment minister expects to finalize the transfer of majority stakes in foreign mining companies to local black investors by the end of April.

Saviour Kasukuwere, a rising star in President Robert Mugabe’s ZANU-PF Party, has been the enforcer-in-chief of a controversial law that requires foreign companies to hand over 51 percent of their holdings in the country to black investors.

Apr 5, 2012

S.Africa fights surging rhino killings in remote Kruger

KRUGER NATIONAL PARK, South Africa, April 5 (Reuters) -
A lmost two rhinos are being killed every day in South Africa to
meet surging Asian demand for the animal’s horn which has become
more valuable than gold, platinum and cocaine.

Investigators in a remote corner of South Africa’s Kruger
National Park examined one of the latest victims of this crime
wave on Tuesday, a white rhino felled by a heavy calibre .375
rifle shot.

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.

    • 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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