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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.

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.

    • 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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