Archive | Africa Mining

Leaner Anglo boosts earnings, but miner’s share rally stalls -by Barbara Lewis (Reuters U.S. – February 22, 2018)

https://www.reuters.com/

LONDON (Reuters) – Anglo American said on Thursday annual earnings rose 45 percent and net debt halved as the miner rebounded from a commodities slump and said it had become a fundamentally different business focused on productivity.

All the major miners have reported a recovery from the 2015-16 crash in commodities prices, announcing increased returns for shareholders and lower debt, while promising to avoid the spending sprees that piled on supplies and helped to end the last boom.

Anglo American and Glencore, which on Wednesday said its results were the strongest yet, saw their shares fall the furthest in the downturn and have rallied the most as commodity markets have recovered. Continue Reading →

Deal Wizard of South African Gold Mining Is Scaring Investors – by Felix Njini (Bloomberg News – February 23, 2018)

https://www.bloomberg.com/

Investors might be running out of patience with Sibanye Gold Ltd.’s colorful chief executive, Neal Froneman. The South African miner’s stock plunged by a record 16 percent Thursday after the company warned it may consider selling assets, metals streams and — only as a last resort — new shares, if the recent strength in the rand persists.

Sibanye is under pressure to reduce debt after a rapid-fire series of deals that transformed the company from a staid and steady gold producer to a diversified precious-metals miner with both southern African and U.S. assets. The company’s net debt is 2.6 times underlying earnings and almost as high as its current market value.

So far, investors have given Froneman, an industry veteran who earned himself the the nickname ‘Mr Fix-It’ for turnaround successes in the 1990s, the benefit of the doubt. But Thursday’s plunge suggests that might not continue forever. Continue Reading →

Barrick Gold focuses on discipline after merger misstep – by Niall McGhee (Globe and Mail – February 23, 2018)

https://www.theglobeandmail.com/

As it continues to deal with repercussions from an ill-fated copper deal in Africa, don’t expect Barrick Gold Corp. to rush into any major mergers and acquisitions deals any time soon.

“When times are good, companies overpay for mediocre assets and invest in projects with low returns,” said executive chairman John Thornton in a webcast to investors on Thursday.

“At Barrick, this will not happen. We are putting in place the discipline to make certain this is the case.” Mr. Thornton said that Barrick had examined a number of external M&A opportunities last year, but passed. Continue Reading →

Commentary: For cobalt buyers, is artisanal mining the problem or the solution? – by Andy Home (Reuters U.K. – February 22, 2018)

https://uk.reuters.com/

LONDON (Reuters) – One reason the cobalt price has gone supernova over the last year is the realisation that not only does most of the available supply come from just one country, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), but a good part of it comes from artisanal mines.

In the case of cobalt, however, artisanal mining may in fact be part of the solution to securing long-term supplies of the “hot” metal used for lithium-ion batteries key to the electric vehicle revolution. The real problem in the DRC is less this mining itself, but more the lawlessness that surrounds it and makes much of the cobalt from the region effectively a “conflict mineral”.

For as Apple has already found out and automotive companies are learning, it’s tricky enough selling yourself as a pioneer of 21st century technology if one of your key raw materials conjures up images of impoverished children wheeling barrows laden with ore or being lowered into rickety tunnels. Continue Reading →

Apple’s potential mining play is about more than money, industry experts say – Natasha Turak (CNBC News – February 22, 2018)

https://www.cnbc.com/

Recent reports that Apple is looking to procure cobalt, an essential component in smartphone batteries, directly from mining companies have highlighted a growing concern about the valuable metal’s impending supply shortage.

But just as important as securing a supply of the limited resource may be what one expert calls a “21st century factor” — ethics and human rights.

“Apple is a buyer of batteries, not a buyer of battery components, and it’s a number of steps away from the raw materials side. So this is significant — the reason they’re doing it is supply chain visibility,” Simon Moores, managing director of Benchmark Minerals, told CNBC. “They need to know that children have not been illegally mining where their cobalt is coming from.” Continue Reading →

MARVEL TO BEHOLD: Black Panther’s Lesson for Cobalt – by David Fickling (Bloomberg News – February 21, 2018)

https://www.bloomberg.com/

The battery material used in electric cars is no vibranium.

An isolated African nation possesses unique deposits of a rare and valuable metal. Its leaders aim to nationalize mineral wealth, while a white South African trader seeks a more vigorous export market. Inevitably, resources bring tragedy as well as triumph. With great power comes great responsibility.

If that sounds like the plot of the current box-office smash Black Panther, it has a real-world echo. The Democratic Republic of Congo has an endowment of cobalt scarcely less outsized than the fictional Wakanda’s reserves of vibranium.

With the rise of electric vehicles forecast to increase demand for the battery material more than fourfold and cobalt prices tripling over the past two years, the paralysed, election-dodging government in Kinshasa is weighing a 150 percent increase in mining royalties. Continue Reading →

Apple in Talks to Buy Cobalt Directly From Miners – by Jack Farchy and Mark Gurman (Bloomberg News – February 21, 2018)

https://www.bloomberg.com/

Apple Inc. is in talks to buy long-term supplies of cobalt directly from miners for the first time, according to people familiar with the matter, seeking to ensure it will have enough of the key battery ingredient amid industry fears of a shortage driven by the electric vehicle boom.

The iPhone maker is one of the world’s largest end users of cobalt for the batteries in its gadgets, but until now it has left the business of buying the metal to the companies that make its batteries.

The talks show that the tech giant is keen to ensure that cobalt supplies for its iPhone and iPad batteries are sufficient, with the rapid growth in battery demand for electric vehicles threatening to create a shortage of the raw material. About a quarter of global cobalt production is used in smartphones. Continue Reading →

Randgold looks to the Americas in quest to diversify – by Zandi Shabalala (Reuters U.S. – February 20, 2018)

https://www.reuters.com/

LONDON (Reuters) – African miner Randgold Resources (RRS.L) is looking to make its first acquisition outside its home continent in North and South America to diversify its portfolio of assets, its chief executive Mark Bristow told Reuters.

The London-listed miner has invested throughout the commodity price downturn, generated cash and steadily increased dividends while rivals have been struggling with big debts taken on to fund acquisitions and expansion.

Flush with cash, Randgold is on the hunt for gold mines outside Africa. “We have $900 million of ammunition to do anything that arises,” Bristow said. “We would rather stay in our time zone and go West. So South America, North America, the Americas in general,” he said, declining to name any countries. Continue Reading →

Tanzania’s new mining law will compel foreign companies to boost local financial firms – by Abdi Latif Dahir (Quartz Africa – February 2, 2018)

https://qz.com/

Tanzania is set to overhaul its extractive industry after the government passed a new law that posits strict guidelines for foreign companies.

The new law gives companies three months to comply with the regulations, while also making them apprise the government of how they are enacting these changes.

As part of reform, the government wants to enhance the competitiveness of local mining and financial institutions by setting minimum employment levels and in-country spend for foreign firms, while also providing a structural monitoring and reporting system that ensures companies deliver on these objectives. Continue Reading →

UPDATE 1-AngloGold to revive historic Ghana asset after illegal miners ousted – by Ed Stoddard (Reuters U.S. – February 20, 2018

https://www.reuters.com/

JOHANNESBURG, Feb 20 (Reuters) – AngloGold Ashanti will spend up to $500 million to mechanise its Obuasi mine in Ghana, capping a dramatic saga for an asset rendered worthless when it was invaded by thousands of illegal miners.

The company announced last year that Ghana’s military had cleared out the illegal miners, who had numbered up to 12,000 at one point, from Obuasi in the Ashanti region.

This paved the way for the company to carry out a feasibility study to see if fresh life could be breathed into the century-old mine. Continue Reading →

Mines Linked to Child Labor Are Thriving in Rush for Car Batteries – by Thomas Wilson and Jack Farchy (Bloomberg News – February 19, 2018)

https://www.bloomberg.com/

The appetite for electric cars is driving a boom in small-scale cobalt production in the Democratic Republic of Congo, where some mines have been found to be dangerous and employ child labor.

Production from so-called artisanal mines probably rose by at least half last year, according to the estimates of officials at three of the biggest international suppliers of the metal, who asked not to be named because they’re not authorized to speak on the matter.

State-owned miner Gecamines estimates artisanal output accounted for as much as a quarter of the country’s total production in 2017. That’s a concern for carmakers from Volkswagen AG to Tesla Inc., who are seeking to secure long-term supplies of the battery ingredient but don’t want to be enmeshed in a scandal about unethical mining practices. Continue Reading →

Exclusive: Acacia, China miners in talks over Tanzania gold deal – sources – by Nicole Mordant and John Tilak (Reuters U.S. – February 16, 2018)

https://www.reuters.com/

VANCOUVER/TORONTO (Reuters) – China’s Shandong Gold Mining Co Ltd and Zijin Mining Group Co Ltd are in separate talks with Acacia Mining Plc to form a joint venture for the London-listed company’s gold mines in Tanzania, three people familiar with the matter told Reuters.

Acacia’s majority shareholder, Barrick Gold Corp, is involved in the discussions, the people said. Acacia, caught in a near year-long tax dispute with the government of Tanzania, has also has held talks with state-owned China National Gold Group about such a partnership, two of the people said, although it was not clear if those talks are ongoing.

Shares in London-listed Acacia, which were down around 3 percent, rebounded after the Reuters report to trade up as much as 3.4 percent. They closed down 0.9 percent, at 162.95 pence. Continue Reading →

COLUMN-Nickel flies on supply hits; Indonesia could ground it – by Andy Home (Reuters U.S. – February 16, 2018)

https://www.reuters.com/

LONDON, Feb 16 (Reuters) – Nickel has enjoyed a blistering start to 2018. On the London Metal Exchange (LME) three-month nickel has this week punched up through the $14,000 level for the first time since May 2015 to hit a Thursday high of $14,420 per tonne.

It has gained 10 percent since the start of the year and has bounced 34 percent from its December low of $10,740 per tonne. Speculative money has poured into this hot market, fund managers tripling their net long exposure LME-NI-MNET to the London contract over the course of December and January.

Shanghai investors have been equally enthusiastic, albeit with a Chinese twist of treating nickel as a bullish steel rebar derivative. Nickel is basking in the electric vehicle glow but the full demand impact is still in the future. Continue Reading →

Burkina Faso expects record 55 tonnes of gold in 2018 – minister – by Tim Cocks and Ange Aboa (Reuters Africa – February 16, 2018)

https://af.reuters.com/

OUAGADOUGOU (Reuters) – Burkina Faso expects to produce a record 55 tonnes of gold in 2018, a two-thirds increase on five years ago, as new projects in the landlocked West African country come on tap, the mines minister told Reuters in an interview.

Speaking in his office in the capital Ouagadougou late on Thursday, Oumarou Idani said gold production had hit 45.5 tonnes last year. That puts it ahead of Tanzania as Africa’s fourth-biggest gold producer — after South Africa and Burkina Faso’s neighbours Ghana and Mali.

The forecast for this year represents a 20 percent increase on 2017, and at current levels would put its industrial production on a par with No.3 producer Mali. Continue Reading →

Barrick mulls selling copper business as it faces lower production, higher costs – by Niall McGhee (Globe and Mail – February 16, 2018)

https://www.theglobeandmail.com/

Barrick Gold Corp. is contemplating getting out of the copper business. President Kelvin Dushnisky said a sale of the copper assets is a possibility, although the company is not running a sales process at this time.

“Would we consider divestment in some point in time? Yes,” Mr. Dushnisky said in an interview with The Globe and Mail.

Barrick acquired its copper assets primarily through its US$7.3-billion purchase of Equinox Minerals Ltd. in 2011. The high-priced acquisition, timed shortly before a global slump in metals prices, proved to be a financial disaster, as Barrick wrote down the value of these assets by US$3.8-billion less than two years later. Continue Reading →