Archive | Africa Mining

The Great Diamond Glut: Miners Stuck With Gems Worth Billions – by Thomas Biesheuvel (Bloomberg News – June 7, 2020)

(Bloomberg) — In one of the world’s biggest diamond vaults, hidden inside a nondescript office compound on the dusty outskirts of Botswana’s capital, the precious stones just keep piling up.

Owner De Beers, which mines and auctions most of its gems in the southern African nation, has barely sold any rough diamonds since February. Neither has Russian rival Alrosa PJSC.

Now, as the coronavirus restrictions that froze the global industry for months begin to lift, the unsold diamonds present a dilemma: how to reduce billions of dollars’ worth of stocks without undermining the nascent recovery. Continue Reading →

Zambia Chamber of Mines says govt tensions with power firm CEC bad for investment (Reuters Africa – June 5, 2020)

LUSAKA, June 5 (Reuters) – Zambia’s attempt to force Copperbelt Energy Corp (CEC) to open up its infrastructure to other power producers has dented the country’s image as an investment destination, the Chamber of Mines said on Friday.

Energy Minister Matthew Nkhuwa issued a decree last Friday compelling CEC to allow others to transmit electricity via its infrastructure. Though it can negotiate terms, CEC said the energy regulator had also cut the tariff it can charge to 30% of the current price.

CEC, formerly a state-owned firm before it was privatised in the 1990s, said the directive and other steps taken by the government amounted to expropriation. Continue Reading →

Urgent plea to allow struggling alluvial diamond sector to create jobs – by Martin Creamer ( – June 3, 2020)

JOHANNESBURG ( – The discovery of alluvial diamonds in the unique secondary deposits of the Middle Orange River downstream of Hopetown in South Africa in 1867 was the catalyst that initiated the development of the mining industry in Southern Africa.

But compared with its heyday between the 1990s and early 2000s, today’s junior diamond mining sector is but a shadow of its former self, says the South African Diamond Producers Organisation (Sadpo) deputy chairperson Lyndon De Meillon.

Independent studies have shown that the sector has shrunk by 90% over the past 20 years, mainly because of poor legislation and over-regulation. Continue Reading →

Tanzanian politician accuses Barrick of abandoning Acacia employees jailed as ‘ransom’ in tax spat – by Geoffrey York and Nial McGee (Globe and Mail – May 29, 2020)

Barrick Gold Corp. is facing criticism from a prominent Tanzanian politician for not doing enough to free three employees of its Tanzanian operations who were jailed 20 months ago and allegedly used as pawns in a multiyear tax dispute between Barrick and the Tanzanian government.

In 2017, Tanzania banned former Barrick subsidiary Acacia Mining PLC from exporting gold concentrate and demanded it pay US$200-billion in back taxes.

In October, 2018, Acacia executives Deo Mwanyika, Alex Lugendo and Asa Mwaipopo were charged with money-laundering offences and imprisoned without chance of bail. At the time, Barrick owned 63.9 per cent of Acacia. Continue Reading →

Platinum giant to enter battery space in ‘due course’ – by Michael McCrae ( – May 27, 2020)

(Kitco News) – Despite the rise of electric vehicles, platinum group metals still have a good 10 years in front of them, and an entry by the world’s largest primary producer of platinum, Sibanye-Stillwater, into the battery space is planned in “due course,” said CEO Neal Froneman. Froneman spoke to Kitco last week.

Sibanye-Stillwater (NYSE:SBSW) timed its entry into the platinum group metals space perfectly by picking up discounted platinum assets in the mid-2010s.

Sibanye-Stillwater, which was spun out of South Africa’s Gold Fields in 2013, picked up Anglo American’s Rustenburg for $95 million in 2015. It also purchased South African platinum miner Aquarius for $294 million 2016. Continue Reading →

AngloGold Ashanti shuts South African mine after 164 workers test positive for COVID-19 – by Geoffrey York (Globe and Mail – May 25, 2020)

AngloGold Ashanti Ltd. has reported 164 cases of the novel coronavirus among its workers at a gold mine in South Africa, raising new questions about how to prevent the virus from spreading in deep underground mines.

The cases were discovered at Mponeng, the world’s deepest mine, where operations extend as far as four kilometres beneath the Earth’s surface.

In response, the company has temporarily closed the mine and begun tracing the contacts of those who tested positive, using an electronic tracking system. It says the “vast majority” of those who tested positive are showing no symptoms of illness. Continue Reading →

Anglo American explores sale of South Africa’s coal alongside spin-off -sources – by Clara Denina and Zandi Shabalala (Reuters U.S. – May 22, 2020)

LONDON, May 22 (Reuters) – Anglo American is still exploring a sale of its thermal coal assets in South Africa as an alternative to spinning off and listing the business, three sources familiar with the matter told Reuters.

Mining companies are under pressure to stop mining coal, the most polluting fossil fuel, from investors and governments keen to switch to cleaner fuels.

London-listed Anglo said earlier this month that it would spin off its last remaining coal assets in South Africa and list them in Johannesburg. Sources say an outright sale of Anglo American’s coal mines was still on the cards. Continue Reading →

Vale after NYC real estate moguls for Simandou compensation – by Cecilia Jamasmie ( – May 19, 2020)

Brazil’s Vale (NYSE: VALE), the world’s no. 1 iron ore miner, has launched a legal action in New York to determine whether funds paid to BSG Resources within the framework of their former Simandou partnership in Guinea were used for property investments in the United States.

The Rio de Janeiro-based mining giant alleges that BSGR, diamond tycoon Beny Steinmetz’s mining arm, fraudulently funneled $500 million into Manhattan real estate’s magnates Aby Rosen and René Benko, Africa Intelligence reported.

The case is the latest in a series of efforts Vale has made to have BSGR pay a $1.2 billion arbitration award. The amount was granted to the Brazilian miner on the grounds of “fraud and breaches of warranty” when included in the Simandou iron ore joint venture. Continue Reading →

China Is Virtually Alone in Backing Africa’s Coal Projects – by Antony Sguazzin, Godfrey Marawanyika and Jing Li (Bloomberg News – May 7, 2020)

(Bloomberg) — For more than two decades, Zimbabwe has been trying to break ground on a giant coal-power complex by the world’s biggest man-made reservoir. China just agreed to get the $4.2 billion project underway.

The development near the southern shore of Lake Kariba is good news for Zimbabwe, where a collapsing economy and erratic policies have deterred foreign investment for the past 20 years.

But it flies in the face of a growing global consensus that has seen financial institutions from Japan to the US and Europe shun investments in coal projects. That retreat leaves the way open for Chinese companies—many with state backing—even at the risk of undermining the spirit of China’s international commitments to fight climate change. Continue Reading →

Anglo American to spin off South African coal mines – by Cecilia Jamasmie ( – May 7, 2020)

Anglo American (LON: AAL) is speeding up its exit from thermal coal as it announced on Thursday it planned to spin off its South African unit within the next three years.

Mounting pressure from investors, regulators and environmental organizations has pushed miners to either sell coal assets or to limit their exposure to the fossil fuel in recent years.

The diversified miner, which has consistently been offloading coal operations since 2014, said the possible demerger of the South African coal operations was its preferred option. Anglo American did not rule out other options, such as a trade sale. Continue Reading →

Exclusive: Fears rise for illegal South African miners hiding underground in virus lockdown – by Kim Harrisberg (Reuters U.S. – April 29, 2020)

JOHANNESBURG (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – At least 100 illegal gold miners in South Africa are hiding underground, too scared to surface with police on patrol to enforce the coronavirus lockdown, according to industry sources.

Many illegal miners, known as zama-zamas – a Zulu expression for “taking a chance” – were underground in abandoned or disused mines in Gauteng province when the lockdown began on March 27.

Lawyers, activists and illegal miners told the Thomson Reuters Foundation that zama-zamas had little choice but to continue working, worried about being arrested if they surfaced and knowing there was no other work. Continue Reading →

Independent review confirms magmatic nickel/copper/PGM deposit for Kavango – by Marleny Arnoldi ( – April 29, 2020)

London-listed Kavango Resources has published a new independent technical review on the exploration potential of the company’s Kalahari Suture Zone (KSZ) project, in Botswana.

Kavango is searching for “Norilsk-style” deposits in the KSZ, which the technical review has confirmed the presence of.

The review, completed by Dr David Holwell using a mineral systems approach, confirms the presence of ten key geological features, which are also present in world-class magmatic sulphide copper, nickel and platinum group metal (PGM) deposits at Norilsk, in Siberia; Voisey’s Bay, Thomson Nickel Belt and Raglan, in Canada; and Jinchuan, in China. Continue Reading →

World’s mine workers resist quick restart amid coronavirus – by Tanisha Heiberg, Helen Reid and Marco Aquino (Reuters U.S. – April 28, 2020)

JOHANNESBURG/LIMA (Reuters) – As mining heavyweights South Africa and Peru move to lift coronavirus lockdowns, workers in deep mines are resisting going back to work without adequate protective gear and information about cases at sites, with one major union filing legal action against restart plans.

The workers fear being literal canaries in the coal mine in facilities where social distancing is nearly impossible and warn that companies are not divulging coronavirus cases, putting them at risk.

South Africa, the world’s largest producer of platinum, manganese and chrome ore, is letting its mines run at half-capacity after a national lockdown. Peru, which hopes to end its own lockdown on May 10, is the world’s No. 2 copper producer and No. 6 gold producer. Continue Reading →

Where is Covid-19 increasing the threat of illegal mining? – by Matthew Hall (Mining Technology – April 24, 2020)

As mine’s worldwide temporarily close to suppress the spread of Covid-19, and the ongoing pandemic wreaks havoc on metal prices, the risk of illegal mining to mine operations and communities is increasing. We look at some of the countries where Covid-19 is exacerbating illegal mine activity.

The Covid-19 pandemic has led to temporary mine closures worldwide, as governments mandate non-essential businesses to close temporarily in order to suppress the spread of the virus. Aside from the production hit that these temporary mine closures lead to, there have been increasing concerns around illegal mining activity, which poses a risk to mineworkers as well as local communities.


On 22 April, Gemfields Group announced that they had suspended all but critical operations at their Montepuez ruby mine in Mozambique. This closure has coincided with the government of Mozambique temporarily allowing the release of prisoners to reduce the risk of outbreaks of Covid-19 in prisons. Continue Reading →

Congo artisanal cobalt programme expands with industry backing – by Helen Reid (Reuters U.S. – April 21, 2020)

JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) – A programme to monitor and improve artisanal cobalt mines in Democratic Republic of Congo will double the number of mining sites it covers this year through a partnership between RCS Global and the Responsible Minerals Initiative.

RCS Global, a company in Berlin that audits supply chains, started the Better Mining programme in 2018, collecting data on cobalt mine sites in Congo and giving mine operators “corrective action” plans when mining practices were found to be unsafe.

Teaming up with the Washington, D.C.-based RMI, a part of the Responsible Business Alliance, will allow the programme to grow from three sites to six this year, and to 12 or more sites by 2023, the companies said in a statement on Tuesday. Continue Reading →