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Mar 12, 2015

Weak rand double-edged sword for mining companies in South Africa

JOHANNESBURG/LONDON March 12 (Reuters) – The sliding rand is
a double-edged sword for mining companies in South Africa, with
cost inflation, wage claims and potential labour unrest
outweighing the gains that exporters traditionally derive from
domestic currency weakness.

The drop in the rand , near 13-year lows against
the dollar, should benefit diversified mining giants such as
Anglo American, BHP Billiton and Glencore
as well as domestic companies such as gold producers
Gold Fields and Anglo Gold Ashanti.

Mar 9, 2015

S.Africa’s Sasol may expand U.S. cracker, sell power to Eskom

JOHANNESBURG, March 9 (Reuters) – South African
petrochemicals group Sasol could expand its $8.9
billion cracker project in the U.S. state of Louisiana depending
on market conditions, its chief executive said.

Sasol is going ahead with the cracker, which takes ethane, a
component of natural gas, and turns it into ethylene, used in
the manufacture of plastic products.

Mar 6, 2015

Low oil a plus, but no panacea for African companies

JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) – A lower oil price should give companies operating in Africa a lift but industry is not banking on it as a long-term elixir.

“In time a lower oil price will probably help the economy in Africa, because it is a key input cost … But that is not the panacea,” Nick Holland, chief executive of bullion producer Gold Fields (GFIJ.J: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz), told the Reuters Africa Investment Summit.

Mar 5, 2015

South Africa’s Eskom may sell assets to raise cash:CEO

JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) – South Africa’s cash-strapped power utility Eskom [ESCJ.UL] may sell some of its assets to raise capital as it scrambles to light up Africa’s most advanced economy, the company’s chief executive said on Thursday.

Eskom, which provides virtually all of South Africa’s power, faces a funding crunch as it races to bring new power plants online to stave off an electricity crisis.

Mar 5, 2015

Book Talk: Africa’s natural wealth: its burden and blessing

JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) – Martin Meredith, one of the most prolific writers on all things African, takes readers in his new book on a 5,000-year journey through the continent, which remains the world’s poorest despite fabulous natural wealth.

The notion of a “resource curse” – the distressing tendency of developing countries to fail to translate their minerals and hydrocarbons into wider prosperity – is a very modern one.

Mar 4, 2015

Proposed South Africa farm size limit is negotiating tactic: minister

BOTHAVILLE, South Africa (Reuters) – A proposal by the South African government to limit farm size to 12,000 hectares is a “negotiating tactic” as it tries to press ahead with the redistribution of land to black farmers, the minister of agriculture said.

“Whenever you are negotiating, you always put forward a figure. What informs the end of that figure is the process of negotiation,” Senzeni Zokwana told Reuters when asked about the 12,000 hectare figure.

Mar 3, 2015

Gold Fields could spend up to $500 million for working mine

JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) – South African bullion producer Gold Fields (GFIJ.J: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) can afford to spend $300-$500 million on an acquisition but is only interested in working mines, its chief executive said.

Nick Holland told the Reuters Africa Investment Summit on Tuesday the bulk of mines that fell into that category were in Africa and the Americas and the window of opportunity to strike such a deal was within the next year.

Feb 26, 2015

S.Africa’s Implats says no job cuts in Rustenburg revamp

JOHANNESBURG, Feb 26 (Reuters) – South Africa’s Impala
Platinum (Implats) will revamp its Rustenburg mines to
boost productivity, but staffing levels will stay the same at
the centre of often violent labour unrest, its chief executive
said on Thursday.

Terence Goodlace said at an interim results presentation
that the “smaller, more concentrated” Rustenburg operation aimed
to have more miners focused on a smaller area.

Feb 26, 2015

South Africa’s Implats says aims for “smaller” Rustenburg

JOHANNESBURG, Feb 26 (Reuters) – South Africa’s Impala
Platinum will modernise its Rustenburg mines, the
centre of often violent labour unrest, into smaller operations
to lift profits, the world No. 2 producer of the precious metal
said on Thursday.

Any move to cut jobs could provoke resistance from the
Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union, which last
year led a five-month strike against Implats, Lonmin Plc
and Anglo American Platinum Ltd.

Feb 24, 2015

Bomb-sniffing elephants trained in South Africa

MABULA, South Africa (Reuters) – In the South African bush, elephants are being trained in the art of “bio-detection” to see if they can use their exceptional sense of smell to sniff out explosives, landmines and poachers.

Supported by the U.S. Army Research Office, the project looks promising.

During a recent test run, a 17-year-old male elephant named Chishuru walked past a row of buckets. A swab laced with TNT scent had been stapled to the bottom of one.

    • 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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