SA ranks third, behind Australia and Canada, in terms of number of mines – by Robert Laing (Business Day – May 26, 2017)

SA ranks a distant third behind Australia and Canada in the number of mines it has, and the gap is likely to widen because the two leading mining countries have far more new projects under way.

Australia has about 540 mine projects under way, Canada about 290 and SA 137, according to a graph in a report titled Currency Movements: Winners and Losers in the Mining Industry, released by BMI Research on Friday morning.

Australia’s lead is extending its lead because 320 of its projects are new developments, followed by Canada, with 190. SA is in third place again, with about 50. BMI forecasts that mines in Russia, China, India, Canada, Australia and Brazil will benefit from their currencies weakening against the dollar from 2017-2021.

On the other hand, mines in Chile, Peru, SA and Mexico will suffer from strengthening local currencies over the next four years. “Although at a much milder rate, SA’s currency will also appreciate against the US dollar, affecting a total of 137 projects (excluding idled projects) according to our key projects database,” BMI said.

“Australian miners will gain from a depreciating local currency in the coming years, while Canada’s stagnant exchange rate will prevent increasing costs,” BMI said.

“Miners operating in both Canada and Australia enjoyed significant advantages from weak local currencies in 2015 and 2016. According to our global key projects database, these two countries have the largest number of new as well as existing mining projects globally — 66.2% and 60.5% of all mining projects in Canada and Australia, respectively, are new mining projects.”

In contrast, only about a third of SA’s mining projects are new developments.

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