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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.

Jan 14, 2015

Strikers at South Africa’s Northam mine want CEO removed

JOHANNESBURG, Jan 14 (Reuters) – Striking South African
miners at Northam Platinum want the company’s chief
executive Paul Dunne removed for what they say are unfair hiring
and firing practices, a spokesman for the National Union of
Mineworkers (NUM) said on Wednesday.

Livhuwani Mammburu also told Reuters that 5,200 workers were
involved in the strike at Northam’s Zondereinde mine in South
Africa’s northern Limpopo province. The wildcat strike began
with the night shift on Tuesday.

Jan 2, 2015

Record year of rhino slayings as Africa’s big animals targeted

JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) – South Africa lost a record number of rhinos in 2014 as big animals across Africa were relentlessly poached to meet rising demand for horn and ivory in newly affluent Asian countries or to provide meat to fighters in the bush.

From South Sudan, where conservationists say elephants are being slain by both government forces and rebels, to South Africa, where more than three rhinos are poached every day, there is an arc of illegal animal slaughter across the region.

Dec 19, 2014

Can Africa turn the “curse” of big animals into an economic blessing?

JOHANNESBURG, Dec 19 (Reuters) – For many outsiders,
Africa’s big animals are among the natural wonders of the world
and a major tourist draw.

For many Africans, elephants, rhinos and lions – or at least
the bloody trade in their body parts, and the proximity of big,
dangerous critters to their crops, cattle and kin – are part of
a wider “resource curse” that has long afflicted the continent.

    • 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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