Archive | Africa Mining

Exclusive: Stop exploiting Africa, share resources, Pope tells Europe – by Philip Pullella (Reuters U.S. – June 20, 2018)

VATICAN CITY (Reuters) – Europe should stop exploiting Africa and invest in ways that benefit the continent more, including by sharing mineral wealth more equitably, Pope Francis said.

“We must invest in Africa, but invest in an orderly way and create employment, not go there to exploit it,” he told Reuters in a wide-ranging interview, while discussing the migration of Africans to Europe.

“When a country grants independence to an African country it is from the ground up – but the subsoil is not independent. And then people (outside Africa) complain about hungry Africans coming here. There are injustices there!” Continue Reading →

Gold Street Is Where South Africa’s Mining History Goes to Die – by Ana Monteiro and Felix Njini (Bloomberg News – June 20, 208)

Miners laid off, mines closing, losses mounting—a huge headache for President Ramaphosa

The death rattle of the industry that once symbolised South Africa can be heard in the town of Carletonville—on Gold Street

That’s where Paseka Selemela has been guarding cars since 2010, when the scaffolding business he worked for closed. Prior to that, he was an assistant at a now-shuttered mine owned by AngloGold Ashanti. Nor has he found work in other gold mines around the town, home to the world’s deepest shafts.

Many of his friends and family members also have joined the legions of the retrenched, including 8 500 people in the area last year alone. Continue Reading →

De Beers playing poker with perception by launching Lightbox? – by David McKay ( – June 19, 2018)

ANGLO American’s 85%-owned De Beers may have pulled off a strategic coup by unveiling plans to launch a new brand of synthetic diamonds. These are the stones that are ‘grown’ artificially in a laboratory and against which the diamond giant has previously fought a marketing campaign.

In fact, the group spent some $140m in 2017 alone promoting naturally occurring diamonds which it says truly represent the profound emotions that inspire wedding bands and other anniversary gifts. Now, however, De Beers has performed an about-turn by unveiling its Lightbox range of synthetics. What could it portend?

According to analysts, this is not really the acknowledgement of diamond synthetics that it appears (although De Beers has its own line of synthetic diamonds which are used primarily for industrial purposes). Instead, it’s a clever commercial ploy aimed at better controlling the pricing and proliferation of lab-grown diamonds by other producers. Continue Reading →

US risked Chinese battery monopoly had Gertler dispute escalated – by David McKay ( – June 19, 2018)

GLENCORE’S workaround the US sanctions placed on Dan Gertler, the Congo’s mining tycoon, was a remarkable piece of pragmatism on behalf of the Swiss miner and minerals trader, but it may have also been informed by a broader concern.

The concern is that in failing to settle the matter, the assets from which Gertler was demanding the resumption of royalties – the Mutanda and Kamoto Copper mines – would have been expropriated by the Congolese government with whom Gertler is close.

It’s quite likely then, given China’s obvious comfort in operating in the Congo, that its companies may have bought the mines and taken control of a large slug of world cobalt (and copper) supply that is crucial to battery manufacture. Controlling the cobalt market would give the Chinese unprecedented control over the world automotive sector. Continue Reading →

South African Miners Say Free Carry Will Kill New Projects – by Felix Njini (Bloomberg News – June 19, 2018)

The biggest threat posed by South Africa’s new Mining Charter may be to mines that haven’t been dug yet.

The draft rules, published Friday by Mineral Resources Minister Gwede Mantashe, lay out several requirements for new mining rights, including that nearby communities and employees each get a 5 percent free-carried interest in either the asset or the company that owns it. The charter is aimed at distributing the industry’s wealth more widely among South Africans to make up for racial discrimination during apartheid.

New mines are already scarce in the country, which has been mined commercially for more than a century and where producers have struggled with rising costs, regulatory uncertainty and a restive labor force. The industry argues that the free carry — which means the respective groups don’t have to buy their shares or pay their way — will make new developments even less likely. Continue Reading →

China Marks Cobalt, Copper Ascendancy in Congo With New Group – by William Clowes (Bloomberg News – June 18, 2018)

More than 30 Chinese companies active in the Democratic Republic of Congo formed a business association backed by both countries’ governments, further cementing China’s ascendancy in copper and cobalt production in the central African nation.

The 35-member Union of Mining Companies with Chinese Capital will facilitate “communication and exchange between the Chinese mining companies and the government of our country,” Cheng Yonghong, the group’s president, said at an inauguration event in Lubumbashi in southeast Congo on June 16.

The group, known by the French acronym USMCC, was founded at the initiative of China’s embassy and on the advice of Congo’s mines minister, he said. Continue Reading →

Resource nationalism on the rise in sub-Saharan Africa – by Nadine James ( – June 15, 2018)

The seemingly increasing trend towards nationalist thinking, combined with and likely driven by growing economic inequality, has resulted in several changes in mining and tax legislation in sub-Saharan Africa countries.

Herbert Smith Freehills Africa Group co-chair and partner Peter Leon says the recent and significant changes to mining regulations in various African States have caused concern that a “regional trend of resource nationalism may be emerging”.

White & Case partner Rebecca Campbell notes that her firm’s yearly mining survey of 2018 found that about 45.1% of respondents believe that the heightened risk of resource nationalism across Africa makes it difficult to justify investment. Continue Reading →

Glencore settles with Gertler over Congo royalties – by Barbara Lewis (Reuters U.S. – June 15, 2018)

LONDON (Reuters) – Glencore has settled a mining row in Democratic Republic of Congo with Israeli billionaire Dan Gertler by agreeing to pay royalties in a currency other than U.S. dollars, lowering the risk of disruption to copper and cobalt supplies.

U.S. sanctions on Gertler, Glencore’s former Israeli partner in Congo, had triggered litigation and a legal tangle that investors said might affect supplies of cobalt, needed for electric vehicle batteries, from the world’s biggest producer of the metal.

Glencore earlier this week reached a settlement in another dispute involving its Kamoto copper and cobalt mine in Congo, although it remains at odds with the Congolese government over a mining code that increases taxes and royalties on minerals. Continue Reading →

Congo’s Miners Face Harsh New Reality as Mining Law Finalized – by Thomas Wilson (Bloomberg News – June 13, 2018)

The options for mining companies battling new legislation in the Democratic Republic of Congo — Africa’s biggest copper producer and the source of two-thirds of the world’s cobalt — have just about run out.

After six months of lobbying, companies including Glencore Plc and Randgold Resources Ltd. have got nowhere in their battle to push back against the mining law, which voids existing agreements and increases their costs. Congo approved the final part of the bill on Friday, and despite earlier indications from President Joseph Kabila that the rules might be eased, the law hasn’t been weakened in any way.

While the constitution bars Kabila from running for a third term, Congo’s embattled leader has refused to rule himself out as a candidate in elections later this year, and his campaign to wring more revenue out of mining companies is proving popular with voters. Continue Reading →

Robert Friedland’s Ivanhoe Mines selling minority stake to China’s CITIC – by Niall McGee (Globe and Mail – June 12, 2018)

Robert Friedland’s Ivanhoe Mines Ltd. is selling a minority stake to a Chinese state-owned firm, securing an important financing source, as uncertainty lingers over how a new African mining code could affect the Canadian base metals miner.

On Monday, Ivanhoe announced it is selling 19.9 per cent of the company by issuing 196.6 million shares in a private placement to CITIC Metal, a subsidiary of CITIC Ltd., China’s largest conglomerate.

The shares are being issued at $3.68 apiece, a 13-per-cent premium to its Friday close. CITIC Metal, which is set to become Ivanhoe’s biggest shareholder, has also agreed to advance Ivanhoe a US$100-million loan. Continue Reading →

South Africa Union Seeks 12,500 Rand Minimum for Gold Miners – by Paul Burkhardt, Ntando Thukwana and Odwa Mjo (Bloomberg News – June 11, 2018)

(Bloomberg) — South Africa’s Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union plans to demand a 12,500 rand ($950) monthly minimum wage from some of the country’s top gold producers in upcoming negotiations.

The labor group decided on its demands on Sunday at a mass meeting near Carletonville, about 90 kilometers (56 miles) west of Johannesburg. It is the second-largest union at producers including AngloGold Ashanti Ltd., Sibanye Gold Ltd. and Harmony Gold Mining Co. Ltd., according to Minerals Council South Africa, a lobby representing the industry.

“12,500 rand, I think it can put the worker in a better place,” especially considering higher taxes and petrol prices, AMCU President Joseph Mathunjwa said in an interview after the meeting. What workers are currently paid “isn’t fair.” Continue Reading →

China’s Citic to take 20% stake in Friedland’s Ivanhoe Mines Share – by Neil Hume (Financial Post – June 11, 2018)

A Chinese state-owned conglomerate is set to become the biggest shareholder in Robert Friedland’s Ivanhoe Mines. Under the deal, announced in Beijing on Monday, Citic will take a 20 per cent stake in Ivanhoe for $560m and make a $100m loan facility available to the Canadian listed company.

Citic will also help Ivanhoe arrange project financing for the Kamoa-Kakula project in the Democratic Republic of Congo, which has been hailed by analysts as the most significant copper find in decades.

The investment comes as the copper market heads for a deficit, with demand set to outstrip supplies. There is a paucity of new copper projects under development, while demand for the metal is set to increase as renewable energy generation grabs market share from fossil fuels. Continue Reading →

Glencore Faces New Legal Challenge Against Congo Cobalt Mine – by William Clowes and Thomas Wilson (Bloomberg News – June 8, 2018)

(Bloomberg) — For Glencore Plc in the Democratic Republic of Congo, problems don’t form an orderly queue: they pile up on top of each other.

In the latest example of the commodity giant’s deteriorating relationships in the country, a convicted fraudster has resurrected a legal claim the company considered dead, launching a billion-dollar bid for compensation for a 19 percent stake he previously held in Mutanda Mining Sarl — the world’s biggest cobalt miner.

The lawsuit, the third court action this year challenging Glencore’s control of its prized Congolese mines, is another headache for the Swiss commodity trader as it faces down the government over a new mining code that hiked taxes. Continue Reading →

Sibanye CEO says seismic events a fact of life for South Africa mines – by Ed Stoddard (Reuters U.S. -June 7, 2018)

JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) – Earthquakes such as the one in which seven miners died last month in South Africa are impossible to predict and a fact of life for deep level operations there, the chief executive of the mine’s owner Sibanye-Stillwater said on Thursday.

Precious metals producer Sibanye has been the object of strong criticism from unions, local media and the government after the earthquake at its Driefontein gold mine that killed the miners. Another miner was killed there last week.

“Seismicity is a feature of mining in the region and deep-level mining layouts and support systems have been designed specifically to cope withy seismicity,” Neal Froneman said in a presentation to investors. Continue Reading →

ALTERNATIVES TO COBALT, THE BLOOD DIAMOND OF BATTERIES – by Ellen Airhart (Wired Magazine – June 7, 2018)

WHEN JOHN GOODENOUGH created the first lithium-ion rechargeable battery at Oxford in 1980, he needed some cobalt. Experiments had already established that the metal is energy-dense, perfect for small batteries that need a lot of power.1 So Goodenough made the cobalt himself, heating the precursors at very high temperatures.

Today, cobalt appears in most commercial lithium-ion batteries—but it comes at a price. The silvery metal is expensive, yes. But it also has a darker cost: a long history of human rights violations, including child mining, associated with production in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Electronics devices and electric car companies don’t want to pay big bucks and connect themselves with these atrocities, so they have tried to cut down on the amount of cobalt their batteries use. Panasonic, Tesla’s battery supplier, announced at the end of last month that they are developing batteries that don’t need cobalt. And they have some help: Goodenough and other researchers have also developed rechargeable batteries that don’t need cobalt. Continue Reading →