Archive | Africa Mining

Zambia’s just deepened worries of sinking global copper output – by Cecilia Jamasmie ( – May 23, 2019)

Zambia’s Chamber of Mines on Thursday delivered further signs of a major global undersupply of copper about to hit the market by announcing that the country’s output of the metal could be as much as 100,000 tonnes lower than last year.

The industry lobby group attributed the expected drop in production to changes to mining taxes introduced in January, which is driving companies to cut output.

“The new tax regime forced miners to do the unthinkable – cut production – because many cannot afford to continue producing as before,” it said in a statement. Continue Reading →

Barrick proposes low-ball buyout offer for beleaguered Tanzanian subsidiary Acacia – by Gabriel Friedman (Financial Post – May 23, 2019)

Barrick offered a nine per cent discount to the London-listed Acacia’s closing price, valuing it at US$787 million

Earlier this month, Barrick Gold Corp. chief executive Mark Bristow had said his company would consider buying out minority shareholders in its embattled subsidiary, Acacia Mining Plc, but only at the right price.

“The problem is that we are not prepared to overpay for these assets,” Bristow said. On Wednesday, the Toronto gold company made its price clear — proposing a share swap at 0.1533 of a Barrick share for each Acacia share in an offer that values the smaller company at US$787 million.

That’s a nine per cent discount to the London-listed company’s closing price on Tuesday, which comes on top of a 68 per cent decline since 2017 amid an ongoing dispute with Tanzanian authorities, which slapped a US$190 billion tax bill and banned the export of processed metals. Continue Reading →

A Copper Mining Lesson From Zambia: History Repeats Itself – by Antony Sguazzin and Matthew Hill (Bloomberg News – May 23, 2019)

Vedanta Resources Ltd. is learning the hard way that when it comes to Zambia’s copper-mining industry, history tends to repeat itself.

Fifty years ago, Zambia’s first post-independence leader Kenneth Kaunda nationalized mines owned by Anglo American Plc and Roan Selection Trust to rally his political supporters.

Now populist President Edgar Lungu is taking legal steps to take over the operations of Vedanta’s Konkola Copper Mines, alleging the unit lied about expansion plans and cheated on taxes. Continue Reading →

Zambia Files Notice of Plans to Seize Vedanta Copper Assets – by Taonga Clifford Mitimingi and Matthew Hill (Yahoo Finance – May 20, 2019)

(Bloomberg) — Zambia’s government filed notification of plans to take over Vedanta Resources Ltd.’s domestic copper assets, President Edgar Lungu said. The southern African nation’s Eurobond yields surged to a record high and the currency hit a 3 1/2-year low.

The move marks an escalation in tension between the government and mine owners, after Lungu last week threatened to “divorce” Vedanta and Glencore Plc, two of the biggest employers in Africa’s second-largest copper producer. Relations have been simmering after the state earlier this year increased royalties and unveiled a plan to overhaul the value-added tax system.

Lungu mainly targeted Konkola Copper Mines, Vedanta’s local unit, in a weekend visit to Zambia’s Copperbelt province, where some companies are cutting production and firing workers. Continue Reading →

A New Diamond-Mining Boat Will Hoover Up Gems Off Namibia’s Coast – by Thomas Biesheuvel (Bloomberg News – May 16, 2019)

Anglo American Plc will build a new diamond-mining boat to operate off the coast of Namibia, where it finds some of its most expensive stones, in the latest sign the company is willing to spend on growth.

Anglo’s De Beers unit already has a fleet of boats that hoover up the precious stones on the Atlantic Ocean, through a 50:50 partnership with Namibia. The southern African nation’s diamonds, which have been washed down the Orange River from South Africa over millions of years and deposited in the ocean, are key to De Beers because of their high quality.

The investment is the latest in a series of growth moves by the century-old miner. So far, Anglo has shied away from delivering the sort of blockbuster shareholder returns seen from larger rivals Rio Tinto Group and BHP Group. Continue Reading →

Africa: 4th Industrial Revolution Disrupts Mining Sector – by Mthulisi Sibanda (All – May 2019)

Johannesburg — THE South African mining industry is undergoing an extensive transformation amid the fourth industrial revolution (4IR) taking root in what is among the major sectors of the continent’s most advanced economy.

Mining forms the backbone of the South African economy and is responsible for a third of the country’s commodity exports. It is indirectly responsible for employment in associated industries, through its vast supply chain.

“The industry that everybody currently knows will be unrecognizable in five to seven years,” said Tony O’Neill, Technical Director at Anglo American. He was speaking ahead of the first 4IR in Mining Seminar in South Africa. Continue Reading →

Army Puts Backers Off Multibillion-Dollar Zimbabwe Platinum Mine – by Felix Njini, Antony Sguazzin and Loni Prinsloo (Bloomberg News – May 15, 2019)

A plan to build Zimbabwe’s biggest platinum mine at a cost of about $4 billion is floundering because a military stake in the project has deterred potential backers, according to people familiar with the funding discussions.

The African Export-Import Bank has the mandate to raise money for the mine, a joint venture between Russian and Zimbabwean investors. While the bank provided $192 million of its own funds, meetings in the past year with investors including South Africa’s Public Investment Corp., the continent’s biggest fund manager, failed to bring additional commitments, one of the people said, asking not to be identified because the talks are private.

Zimbabwe has the world’s third-largest reserves of platinum, palladium and related metals such as rhodium — which typically occur together — after South Africa and Russia. President Emmerson Mnangagwa is trying to lure investment to the country to help rebuild the economy, devastated during the 37-year rule of Robert Mugabe. Continue Reading →

UPDATE 2-BHP to keep Nickel West, Rio looks to Jadar lithium for battery boom (Reuters Africa – May 14, 2019)

LONDON, May 14 (Reuters) – Global miner BHP will hold on to the Australian nickel operations it previously put up for sale, while Rio Tinto is working on copper and lithium projects as the mining industry bets on demand for electric vehicle (EV) batteries.

The biggest mining companies say they are well positioned to provide the metals needed for the shift to EV technology, although they acknowledge the political risks and environmental issues in some of the countries where the best supplies are found.

Nickel is in demand to allow cars to travel further on a single charge. Using more nickel also cuts costs by reducing the use of expensive cobalt, a mainstay of current EV batteries. Continue Reading →

Platinum Miners Brace for Labor Clash in New Ramaphosa Test – by Felix Njini and Paul Burkhardt (Bloomberg News – May 14, 2019)

When the world’s biggest platinum miners sit down with labor unions this month to negotiate a three-year wage deal, it could prove an early test of Cyril Ramaphosa’s new presidency in South Africa.

An amicable outcome will bolster Ramaphosa — the former mine union leader and one-time platinum company investor — as he seeks to lure foreign investors. However, tensions are fraught on both sides and there are fears the labor unions will go on strike, which could send platinum prices soaring.

“Ramaphosa’s key priority is to send a positive signal on reforming the economy, but there will be high levels of instability after the election,” said Andre Duvenhage, professor of politics at North West University. “The platinum belt is probably the most volatile environment in South Africa.” Khusela Diko, a spokeswoman for Ramaphosa, declined to comment. Continue Reading →

UPDATE 1-Zimbabwe faces worst power cuts in 3 years, mines hit (Reuters Africa – May 13, 2019)

HARARA, May 13 (Reuters) – Zimbabwe’s state power utility imposed the worst rolling blackouts in three years on Monday, with households and industries including mines set to be without electricity for up to eight hours daily.

The power cuts are bound to stoke mounting public anger against President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s government as Zimbabweans grapple with an economic crisis that has seen shortages of U.S. dollars, fuel, food and medicines as well as soaring inflation that is eroding earnings and savings.

Many Zimbabweans say life is getting harder and that Mnangagwa is failing to deliver on pre-election promises last year to rebuild an economy shattered during Robert Mugabe’s 37-year rule. Continue Reading →

Palladium’s price gap over platinum needs to shrink – Nornickel (Reuters/ – May 13, 2019)

LONDON – The price gap between palladium and its sister metal platinum needs to shrink as number one platinum producer South Africa requires a higher price for the metal to keep investing in new supply, Russia’s Norilsk Nickel said.

Norilsk is the number one producer of palladium, accounting for more than 40% of global output, and is also a leading supplier of platinum. Both metals are used to curb harmful emissions from cars.

While palladium prices have soared by more than a third in the last five years, platinum has slumped by more than 40%. It is now around $490 an ounce cheaper than palladium, against an average premium over the last 30 years of $435. Continue Reading →

Barrick Gold CEO frustrated over ongoing Acacia tax impasse – by Niall McGee (Globe and Mail – May 9, 2019)

Mark Bristow came to Barrick Gold Corp. with a strong reputation for operating mines in tough jurisdictions in Africa. But a solution to one of the company’s most vexing problems on the continent still eludes him.

The chief executive says the miner has made little progress in its attempts to end a tax dispute with Tanzania that has crippled production at its London-based subsidiary.

Speaking in Toronto on Wednesday after the release of Barrick’s first-quarter earnings, Mr. Bristow said that two years after a fracas erupted between 63.9-per-cent Barrick-owned Acacia Mining PLC and the government of Tanzania, both parties are still very much at odds. Continue Reading →

FOCUS: Mining wrote South Africa’s history. Does it have a future? – by Ryan Lenora Brown (Christian Science Monitor – May 7, 2019)

KIMBERLEY, SOUTH AFRICA: On a glassy blue March day, on a cratered field flanked by tin shacks, a man named Shimi sinks his hands deep into the dirt that once made his country rich beyond reason.

One hundred and fifty years ago, a few miles from this spot, another man, whose name was recorded for history only as Swartbooi (“black boy”), found a diamond so big that it warped the entire history of South Africa. Now Shimi is trying to do the same. Actually, Shimi doesn’t really need the history-warping kind of diamond. The rent-paying kind would do. The new-shoe buying type. The type of diamond that means he has enough cornmeal for a few more months.

“If you’re lucky, with this work, you find enough to live,” says Shimi, who asked that his last name not be used because of the illegal nature of his work, as he carries another bucket of dirt to the homemade sifter he uses to search for diamonds in this old mine dump. Continue Reading →

Sierra Leone’s diamond industry must be reformed – by Julian Lahai Samboma (African Business – May 3, 2019)

African Business

If Sierra Leone’s diamond industry is to make a positive contribution to the socio-economic development of the nation, as envisaged in the government’s new five-year National Development Plan, there has to be a radical overhaul of the way the industry is managed.

At the centre of any such strategy should be a concerted campaign to curb the rampant smuggling of diamonds, which leads to tens of millions of dollars of potential tax revenue being lost each year.

Less remarked upon is the fact that official corruption still plagues the industry. Diamonds were discovered in Sierra Leone in 1930. The 1960s are seen as the post-independence benchmark for probity and proper management of the industry. Continue Reading →

Platinum seen contributing as much to South Africa’s economy as gold did in the 20th century – by Natasha Odendaal ( – May 3, 2019)

With the too-high economic cost of a lost opportunity looming, immediate measures are required to assist the platinum group metals (PGMs) mining sector to improve its viability and preserve employment.

This is the intent behind the industry’s new South African National Platinum Strategy, with its most optimistic scenario the creation of more than one-million jobs and a contribution of R8.2-trillion to South Africa’s economy by 2050.

“Platinum . . . can play the role that gold played in helping to develop South Africa into the most [advanced] country in Africa,” says Minerals Council South Africa CEO Roger Baxter, noting that the platinum treasure trove could enable South Africa to regain its position as the undisputed leading country in Africa going forward. Continue Reading →