Archive | Africa Mining

China’s raw materials strategy: The next chapter in the US-China rivalry? – by Bashar Malkawi (Policy Forum – January 24, 2020)

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“Without a domestic supply, the United States must rely on Chinese
sources of rare earths to build ‘Made in America’ military equipment.
It makes little sense to rely upon a security competitor for access to essential
military materials. Rare earths are not the only strategic

metal. Lithium, chromium, cobalt, graphite, copper, and manganese
are also essential for industrial purposes.”

The United States cannot rely upon products that originate in, or supply chains that run through, a potential adversary, Bashar Malkawi writes.

China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), publicly released in 2013 and formerly named ‘One Belt, One Road’, would, at first look, seem to be a force for good. China views the BRI as a way to enhance its trade connectivity, reduce surplus domestic industrial capacity, develop poorer interior provinces, promote energy security, and internationalise Chinese industrial and financial standards.

The BRI builds China’s commercial ties abroad by financing, constructing, and developing major transport, energy, technology, and other infrastructure projects in the Indo-Pacific, Africa, the Middle East, Europe, and the Americas. Continue Reading →

Barrick Gold’s ‘long safari’ ends with Tanzania deal – by Fumbuka Ng’wanakilala (Reuters Canada – January 24, 2020)

https://ca.reuters.com/

DAR ES SALAAM (Reuters) – Canada’s Barrick Gold Corp (ABX.TO) signed a deal with Tanzania on Friday in which the government will take stakes in three gold mines, ending a long-running tax dispute and setting a template for negotiations with other firms. It was signed by Barrick CEO Mark Bristow and Tanzanian minerals minister Doto Biteko at a ceremony in the commercial capital, Dar es Salaam.

It follows an announcement by the two sides in October in which they agreed to a payment of $300 million to settle outstanding tax and other disputes, the lifting of an export ban on concentrates and the sharing of future economic benefits from mines.

South Africa-born Bristow, describing the dispute as a “long safari” since it emerged in 2017, struck a conciliatory tone in a speech at the ceremony broadcast on state TV. Safari means “journey” in Swahili. Continue Reading →

Doubts emerge over gold export agreement between Barrick, Tanzania – by Geoffrey York and Niall McGee (Globe and Mail – January 23, 2020)

https://www.theglobeandmail.com/

Three months after Barrick Gold Corp. agreed to settle a costly dispute with the Tanzanian government, the deal is still not finalized and could be subject to further negotiations, according to African media and industry analysts.

Barrick and the government have missed a Dec. 31 deadline for completing the deal, and “doubts” have emerged to cast a cloud over the agreement, according to The East African, a weekly newspaper in the region.

Under the agreement last October, the Toronto-based gold company promised to pay US$300-million to settle a longstanding tax dispute. The government agreed to lift a ban on gold concentrate exports, while Barrick promised to share the future economic benefits from its Tanzanian mines with the government on a 50-50 basis. Barrick acquired the mines by purchasing its African subsidiary, Acacia, for US$1.2-billion last year. Continue Reading →

South African chrome firms warn of more than 1,200 job cuts (Reuters U.S. – January 20, 2020)

https://www.reuters.com/

JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) – South African chrome firms on Monday warned of more than 1,200 potential job cuts, citing power cuts, rising electricity tariffs and increased competition from overseas.

The potential layoffs highlight the risks posed to Africa’s most industrialized economy by struggling state power utility Eskom, which is struggling with breakdowns at its coal-fired power plants and is mired in a financial crisis.

They also pile more pressure on President Cyril Ramaphosa’s government, which is trying to contain 29% unemployment. Continue Reading →

GemFair can positively transform ASM sector, says De Beers – by Simone Liedtke (MiningWeekly.com – January 21, 2020)

https://www.miningweekly.com/

The artisanal and small-scale mining (ASM) sector is in need of formalisation in order to establish itself as a legitimate source of diamond supply; however, faced with complex mining ecosystems and operating conditions that are vastly different from the large-scale diamond mining sector, De Beers says “the approach to supporting formalisation must be tailored, incremental and robust”.

While the ASM sector represents an important source of global diamond production and is a critical livelihood, artisanal miners face many challenges, including a lack of capital, low productivity and informal practices, according to the diamond miner.

Additionally, De Beers says legacy concerns regarding conflict diamonds also mean that ASM diamonds are “often perceived negatively by consumers, when the reality is that the vast majority of ASM production is not from conflict zones”. Continue Reading →

The price of palladium is absolutely exploding – here’s why that’s good news for South Africa (Business Insider SA – January 21, 2020)

https://www.businessinsider.co.za/

Since the start of this year, the price of palladium – a silvery-white metal primarily found in South Africa and Russia – has jumped by more than 22%. In a single day, on Friday, the price increased by $150 an ounce. On Monday, it continued its rally – gaining more than 3%.

It’s now 80% more expensive than a year ago and, since 2016, the palladium price has rallied by more than 400% – from $450/oz to more than $2,300.

Why is palladium in such hot demand?

Palladium has special qualities which allows it to help turn toxic gases into water vapour and other less-dangerous gases. Almost 90% of palladium is used in vehicle exhausts to help reduce emissions from cars. Platinum has similar characteristics, but is not as effective as palladium – particularly not in petrol-fuelled vehicles.

As countries around the world tighten their emission rules for vehicles, so the demand for palladium has increased. In China alone, new emissions standards now requires 30% more palladium per vehicle, according to a Reuters report. Continue Reading →

Glencore to restructure SA ferrochrome following “material losses” at Rustenburg smelter – by David McKay (MiningMX.com – January 17, 2020)

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HIGH electricity tariffs, interruptions, and deteriorating conditions in the ferrochrome market have forced Glencore and its joint venture partner, Merafe Resources, to consider restructuring its Rustenburg smelter.

As a result, the partners have commenced a Section 189 process in terms of the Labour Relations Act that may result in job losses. Glencore did not specify the extent of its planned restructuring, but it said Rustenburg smelter was suffering financial losses and would continue to do so “for the foreseeable future”. The Rustenburg smelter produces about 430,000 tons of ferrochrome annually. Glencore’s total smelting capacity from South Africa is 2.3 million tons (Mt).

This decision is the result of deteriorating operating and market conditions across the South African ferrochrome industry including unsustainable electricity tariffs and interruptions, cross subsidies and real cost inflation,” Glencore said. Significant ferrochrome output had also been displaced to international producers whose costs are lower. Continue Reading →

Race to refine: the bid to clean up Africa’s gold rush – by David Lewis and Peter Hobson (Reuters U.S. – January 15, 2020)

https://www.reuters.com/

ENTEBBE (Reuters) – In a refinery just outside Uganda’s main airport, workers slip bars of freshly refined gold into clear plastic bags sealed with a sticker of the national flag – black, yellow and red – and the label “Ugandan’s Treasure.”

Uganda produces little gold of its own. Alain Goetz, who set up the refinery, says that by branding gold from abroad as Ugandan, the operation is merely imitating others – for example, the Swiss don’t mine the gold they refine in Switzerland.

A pink building guarded by dogs at Entebbe on the shores of Lake Victoria, the refinery, African Gold Refinery (AGR), is part of a trend across Africa. Small-scale mining is booming, and new gold refineries are opening by the dozen, to process metal produced by informal diggers in Africa and beyond. Continue Reading →

LOUIS VUITTON PURCHASES WORLD’S SECOND-BIGGEST DIAMOND – by Chelsea Ritschel (The Independent – January 16, 2020)

https://www.independent.co.uk/

Diamond’s name ‘Sewelo’ translates to ‘rare find’

Louis Vuitton has purchased the world’s second-largest diamond, a 1,758-carat gem known as the Sewelo diamond.

On Wednesday, it was reported that the luxury French fashion house purchased the diamond for “millions” as the brand turns its attention from leather handbags to high jewellery.

The Sewelo diamond was found in Botswana in April 2019 at the Karowe mine by Lucara Diamond Corp. The name of the gem means “rare find” in Tswana – one of the languages spoken in Botswana. Continue Reading →

South Africa has the world’s highest number of environmentally dangerous tailing dams – by Tawanda Karombo (Quartz Africa – January 16, 2020)

https://qz.com/

South Africa has the highest number of dangerous tailing dams—structures constructed, often by mining companies, to store waste in liquid form. The dams are considered hazardous if improperly handled and have resulted in environmental disasters and deaths many times around the world.

Wider environmental hazards arising out of mining operations in South Africa, and elsewhere in Africa, range from river contamination from chemicals used in mining processes to improper rehabilitation of mined out operations.

Tailing dams have emerged as the latest significant environmental risk factor from mining and South Africa has the highest number of the riskiest of these, according to an investigative report by Reuters. Continue Reading →

South Africa’s mining production falls for a fourth month – by Tasneem Bulbulia (MiningWeekly.com – January 16, 2020)

http://www.miningweekly.com/

Mining production decreased by 3.1% year-on-year in November, data from Statistics South Africa (Stats SA) shows. In a statement, financial services provider Nedbank’s Economic Group Unit said this represented the fourth consecutive month of yearly decline, with non-gold activity remaining the main drag.

Stats SA data shows that the largest negative contributors to the decline were platinum group metals (PGMs) (-13.5% and contributing -3.6 percentage points); iron-ore (-7.5% and contributing -0.7 of a percentage point); and coal (-2.8% and contributing -0.7 of a percentage point).

Other nonmetallic minerals, however, made a significant positive contribution (20.5% and contributing 1.2 percentage points). Further, seasonally adjusted mining production decreased by 3.5% month-on-month in November. This followed month-on-month changes of 1.7% in October and 0.8% in September. Continue Reading →

Tesla in Talks to Buy Glencore Cobalt for Shanghai Car Plant – by Mark Burton and Thomas Biesheuvel (Bloomberg News – January 15, 2020)

https://ca.finance.yahoo.com/

(Bloomberg) — Glencore Plc is negotiating a long-term contract to ship cobalt to Tesla Inc.’s new electric-vehicle factory in Shanghai, according to people familiar with the matter.

A deal would help Tesla avoid a supply squeeze on the key battery metal as it pushes into the world’s largest car market, and mark a win for Glencore after a tough spell for its cobalt business.

Executives from both companies hammered out terms of the deal before an official ceremony to mark the first sales from the Shanghai plant earlier this month, said one of the people, who asked not to be identified discussing commercial negotiations. They declined to give details about the size and value of the supply deal. Continue Reading →

Failure of Eskom to be “the death knell” of SA mining sector, says Exxaro’s Mgojo – by David McKay (MiningMX.com – January 15, 2020)

MiningMX

EXXARO Resources CEO, Mxolisi Mgojo, said that without a properly functioning power utility company – Eskom – South Africa’s mining industry would cease to function.

“The current state of Eskom is going to be the one thing that is going to be the death knell of this industry,” Mgojo was cited by Bloomberg News to have said in an article republished by Yahoo Finance. Mgojo is also the president of the Minerals Council South Africa.

Mgojo was commenting at a conference organised by Business Unity South Africa, the country’s largest business lobby group. “Without fixing Eskom we don’t have a mining industry. It is as dire as that.” Continue Reading →

Congo opens Chinese-owned Deziwa copper and cobalt mine – by Stanis Bujakera (Reuters U.S. – January 15, 2020)

https://www.reuters.com/

DEZIWA MINE, Democratic Republic of Congo (Reuters) – The Democratic Republic of Congo’s state mining company Gécamines on Wednesday opened the Deziwa copper and cobalt mine and processing plant, part of a joint venture majority-owned by China Nonferrous Metal Mining Company (CNMC).

The Deziwa deposit, around 35 kilometres east of Kolwezi, is estimated to hold 4.6 million tonnes of copper and 420,000 tonnes of cobalt. Somidez, the joint venture controlling it, is held 51% by CNMC and 49% by Gécamines.

An $880 million project which started construction in May 2018, the Deziwa mine aims to produce 80,000 tonnes of copper and 8,000 tonnes of cobalt per year, according to Somidez. Continue Reading →

Race to refine: the bid to clean up Africa’s gold rush – by David Lewis and Peter Hobson (Reuters Canada – Janaury 15, 2020)

https://ca.reuters.com/

ENTEBBE (Reuters) – In a refinery just outside Uganda’s main airport, workers slip bars of freshly refined gold into clear plastic bags sealed with a sticker of the national flag – black, yellow and red – and the label “Ugandan’s Treasure.”

Uganda produces little gold of its own. Alain Goetz, who set up the refinery, says that by branding gold from abroad as Ugandan, the operation is merely imitating others – for example, the Swiss don’t mine the gold they refine in Switzerland.

A pink building guarded by dogs at Entebbe on the shores of Lake Victoria, the refinery, African Gold Refinery (AGR), is part of a trend across Africa. Small-scale mining is booming, and new gold refineries are opening by the dozen, to process metal produced by informal diggers in Africa and beyond. Continue Reading →