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Jun 27, 2014

Vedanta stands by struggling Zambian copper mine

JOHANNESBURG/LONDON (Reuters) – London-listed Vedanta Resources Plc remains committed to its underperforming Zambian copper unit, despite disputes with the government over lay-offs and a looming audit of its books, the company’s chief executive said on Friday.

Vedanta bought a controlling stake in Konkola Copper Mines (KCM) a decade ago, but the business, intended to be part of the company’s push beyond India, has repeatedly disappointed.

Jun 27, 2014

The Swiss commodities connection in African poverty

JOHANNESBURG, June 27 (Reuters) – Are mispricing and the
opacity of commodities trading in Switzerland contributing to
Africa’s underdevelopment?

The world’s poorest continent remains heavily dependent on
natural resources and so is extremely vulnerable to
manipulations in the price of the commodities it extracts and
exports, with very real consequences for its economies.

Jun 25, 2014

South Africa miners return to work after longest platinum strike

MARIKANA South Africa (Reuters) – Tens of thousands of South African platinum miners returned to work on Wednesday after wage deals ended the longest and most damaging strike in the country’s history.

The five-month strike hit 40 percent of global production of the precious metal and has cost companies Lonmin LMI.J, Anglo American Platinum (AMSJ.J: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) and Impala Platinum (IMPJ.J: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) a combined 24 billion rand ($2.25 billion) in lost revenue.

Jun 24, 2014

After record strike, life returns to South African platinum town

MARIKANA, South Africa, June 24 (Reuters) – An armoured
vehicle carrying banknotes for an ATM machine rolled down
Marikana’s dusty main street on Tuesday, a rare sight for locals
in the gritty South African mining town starved of cash during a
five-month platinum strike that has just ended.

“I haven’t seen a cash vehicle coming out this way in a long
time,” said Mohamed Moosa, who runs a general store in Marikana,
a town 120 km (70 miles) northwest of Johannesburg that has been
at the centre of the longest strike in South African history.

May 29, 2014

Book Talk: Is humanity behind biggest extinction event since dinosaurs?

JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) – Around 65 million years ago, a massive asteroid or “bolide” smashed into the Yucatan Peninsula off the coast of southeastern Mexico, sending up a cloud of searing vapor and debris.

This effectively killed off the dinosaurs. Some were instantly vaporized, others vanished as vast dust clouds blocked out the sunlight for years.

May 29, 2014

Mining retains iron grip on South African economy

NYANDENI, South Africa May 29 (Reuters) – Mining accounts
for a fraction of South Africa’s gross domestic product but
still hits well above its weight and is pushing the continent’s
most advanced economy towards recession.

South Africa’s economy shrank 0.6 percent in the first
quarter of this year, data showed this week, the first quarterly
contraction since a recession in 2009 as mining output plummeted
amid a protracted strike in the platinum sector.

May 29, 2014

South Africa’s mines minister: from hunter to strike buster

JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) – In his spare time, South Africa’s tough new mines minister, Ngoako Ramatlhodi, enjoys stalking game with a rifle in the wild bush of his native Limpopo province.

Hunting season is in full swing but Ramatlhodi has his eye on bigger game: a solution to a crippling platinum strike, the longest in the history of the country’s mines, which threatens to tip Africa’s most advanced economy into recession.

May 28, 2014

South Africa mines minister vows to break strike deadlock

JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) – South Africa’s new mines minister Ngoako Ramatlhodi said on Wednesday that the deadlock in the country’s crippling 18-week platinum strike would soon be broken as movement has been made on both sides.

Ramatlhodi appointed a government team on Wednesday to try and resolve the wage stoppage by the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (AMCU) at the world’s top platinum producers. The team will meet the companies and union on Thursday at an undisclosed location.

May 26, 2014

Untested new South Africa mines minister faces baptism of fire

JOHANNESBURG, May 26 (Reuters) – South African President
Jacob Zuma’s appointment of a new mines minister unfamiliar to
the sector but known for his black empowerment views adds
uncertainty to prospects for ending a crippling four-month-old
platinum strike this is hurting growth.

The stoppage at Anglo American Platinum, Impala
Platinum and Lonmin is already the longest in
the country’s history and has damaged Africa’s most advanced

May 22, 2014

Workers flee to safe houses on South Africa’s strike-hit platinum belt

RUSTENBURG, South Africa, May 22 (Reuters) – The chanting
began around midnight, a chilling message through the cold of
the early South African winter to those who had dared to cross
the picket lines at platinum producer Lonmin.

“The rats must come out of their holes. We are going to kill
this NUM,” the crowd chanted as it approached the home of
‘Mary’, a member of the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) who
had kept working at Lonmin when the rival Association of
Mineworkers and Construction Union (AMCU) was on strike.

    • 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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