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Feb 23, 2015

South Africa’s Harmony Gold haunted by Kusasalethu curse

JOHANNESBURG, Feb 23 (Reuters) – South Africa’s Harmony Gold
must feel cursed by its Kusasalethu mine, where a fire
on Sunday has delivered a fresh blow to the company’s efforts to
boost earnings.

In the latest setback to an operation that has been closed
before because of labour violence and illegal miners, the blaze
took hold deep underground during maintenance work.

Feb 20, 2015

Recycling, war on diesel threaten platinum producers’ price hopes

LONDON/JOHANNESBURG, Feb 20 (Reuters) – Platinum producers
struggling back from South Africa’s longest-ever mining strike
are now contending with threats to a long-awaited price
recovery, notably Europe’s emerging dislike of diesel engines.

The world’s largest platinum miners, crippled by a
five-month stoppage in 2014, have said their companies will do
better this year, largely because they expect a strong price
recovery from six-year lows.

Feb 18, 2015

S.Africa’s Sasol signals dividend cut on low oil price

JOHANNESBURG, Feb 18 (Reuters) – South African
petrochemicals company Sasol signalled it could cut its
dividend to save cash due to the low oil price, sending its
shares down as much as 11 percent in their biggest intra-day
fall in 16 years.

Sasol, the world’s top maker of motor fuel from coal, said
in a statement its earnings would be negatively impacted by the
overall low oil price environment. Oil hit a six-year low in
January, although it has since recouped some of those losses.

Feb 11, 2015

S.Africa’s big platinum strike holds lessons, omens for gold

CAPE TOWN, Feb 11 (Reuters) – South Africa’s gold producers
are gearing up for a showdown with labour that could hasten the
decline of a struggling industry.

With wage agreements expiring in June, the omens are bad: a
lethal rivalry between unions and the precedent of a huge wage
settlement in the platinum sector.

Feb 10, 2015

Platinum producer Lonmin sees no let-up for belt tightening

CAPE TOWN, Feb 10 (Reuters) – Lonmin, the world’s
third-largest platinum producer, said on Tuesday persistently
weak prices meant it will be cutting costs further and
increasing productivity, although job cuts remained a last

Along with its rivals in South Africa, London-listed Lonmin
has been battered by labour unrest over pay, rising costs and
weak platinum prices, resulting in the company posting a pretax
loss last year of $326 million for the year to end-September.

Feb 10, 2015

Zambia minister says payment of mining royalties can be deferred

CAPE TOWN, Feb 10 (Reuters) – Zambia’s commerce minister
said on Tuesday that payment of mining royalties, which Zambia
recently increased, can be deferred until companies have
sufficient cash flow if they are not in a position to pay

Zambia’s government said last year that it would scrap a
corporate income tax of 30 percent while increasing mining
royalties for companies operating in Africa’s second-largest
producer of copper.

Feb 6, 2015

Union violence halts work at S.Africa’s Sibanye gold mine

JOHANNESBURG, Feb 6 (Reuters) – South Africa’s Sibanye Gold
suspended work at its Beatrix mine after nine workers
were injured in a brawl between members of two rival unions, the
company said on Friday.

Sibanye’s share price fell 4 percent, outpacing a 0.45
percent drop on Johannesburg’s Gold Mining Index,
reflecting investor jitters about the prospects of fresh labour
unrest ahead of wage talks in the sector later this year.

Feb 6, 2015

South Africa’s ANC talks left on land as unrest flares

DIEPSLOOT, South Africa, Feb 6 (Reuters) – South Africa’s
government has built close to 4 million houses for low-income
families since the end of apartheid in 1994.

Lizzie Mboweni is one of millions still waiting for one.

Last Saturday she joined scores of squatters from Diepsloot,
a shantytown north of Johannesburg, in a violent attempt to grab
plots in an unused field across the road, part of a campaign of
land invasions launched by the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF),
an ultra-left opposition party.

Jan 30, 2015

S.Africa grants parole to ‘Prime Evil’ apartheid killer

PRETORIA (Reuters) – Apartheid death-squad leader Eugene de Kock, dubbed ‘Prime Evil’ for his role in the torture and murder of scores of black South African activists in the 1980s and early 1990s, was granted parole on Friday after more than 20 years in prison.

Justice Minister Michael Masutha told a news conference de Kock would be released “in the interests of nation-building and reconciliation” and because he had expressed remorse at his crimes and helped authorities recover the remains of some of his victims.

Jan 22, 2015

S.Africa moves 100 rhinos outside country to fight poaching

PRETORIA, Jan 22 (Reuters) – South Africa said on Thursday
that it had moved around 100 rhinos to unspecified neighbouring
states as part of efforts to stem the illicit slaughter of the
animals for their horns.

Home to around 80 percent of the global rhino population,
South Africa is at the epicentre of a poaching crisis.
Government figures released on Thursday show the country lost a
record 1,215 rhinos last year, about a 20 percent increase on
the 2013 toll, with 49 slain so far this year.

    • 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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