It’s been a rocky start to the week for South Africa, with the hunt for an urgent solution to its mining chaos going nowhere. On Tuesday Jacob Zuma, the president, once again called for a peaceful resolution to the troubles rocking the sector after Monday’s fatal shooting of a union leader. He had made similar calls last week, as the sector’s troubles contributed to GDP growth at a fresh low of 0.9 per cent in the first quarter and the rand tumbled dramatically to record lows – its fall exacerbated, critics said, by Zuma’s failure to act. Continue reading »
Another mining project in a minerals-rich Andean country has been hit by another environmental/indigenous complaint. Digging up precious metals as a way of achieving economic prosperity, especially in areas of outstanding natural beauty, has never been so fraught.
Zambia announced on Wednesday that it had revoked the licences for a controversial Chinese-owned coal mine in the south of the country in response to violations of safety and environmental laws and a failure to pay mineral royalties.
Mining minister Yamfwa Mukanga said the government had taken over the mines and would operate them “until a suitable investor is found”. The decision highlights the sometimes troubled relationship between China and Zambia. Continue reading »
Anglo American Platinum, the world’s biggest producer of the precious metal, is to close four shafts and look to sell another mine complex as part of a radical overhaul of its South African operations.
Announcing the results of a year-long review of its business, the company said the moves could affect up to 14,000 jobs, which it hoped to recreate through other initiatives. In total Amplats employs about 60,000 people. Continue reading »
“The nation has no financial obligation to South American Silver,” mining minister Mario Virreira told reporters, adding there was “never any document establishing that the Bolivian government had a contractual relationship” with the Vancouver-based company. Continue reading »
Next time a president of a resource-rich country thinks nationalisation of mining assets is a way of solving internal conflicts, s/he would do well to take a look at Bolivia, where salaried and independent miners have been violently fighting for the control of a recently nationalised mine. Continue reading »
Labour unrest in South Africa has hit gold and mining stocks, but the wider South African market has held up well. Jeff Gable, head of African research at Barclays, explains why to emerging markets editor, Stefan Wagstyl.
By Thero Setiloane of Business Leadership South Africa
It is probably too soon to say whether the very fabric of our labour relations framework is being torn apart in South Africa. I don’t think it’s too soon to say that it is being challenged in a deep and fundamental way. All mining companies will be affected by this and will need to approach this change in an open and constructive way.
One of the biggest challenges to that framework has been the initial R12,500 basic monthly wage demand made by the Lonmin workers. That demand was until recently one of the enduring features of the current unrest but its potential impact on the mining industry and what it tells us about labour relations in South Africa hasn’t really been understood. Continue reading »
Mining companies are queuing up for east Africa’s natural resources boom, but one key player might now be heading for the exit.
On Thursday Barrick Gold, the world’s biggest gold producer, confirmed it is considering selling its 74 per cent stake in its African operation, African Barrick. As the FT reports, potential buyers in the frame are China National Gold and the Zijin Mining Group – both state owned. Continue reading »
Even during thunderstorms and floods, the Incas believed the ancient sun god, or Inti, was always shining. In today’s Peru bloody and protracted protests have stopped mining projects from going ahead – such as Newmont Mining’s $5bn Conga project.
They have also forced the country’s President, Ollanta Humala, to make cabinet changes. But the investment climate in Latin America’s fastest-growing economy seems to be, somehow, shining. Continue reading »
The death of a Chinese mine supervisor during a protest over wages at the Chinese-owned Collum coal mine in Zambia’s Southern Province has brought the uneasy African-Chinese working relationship into the spotlight again.
This is not the first time the Collum mine has been the site of controversy, with a history of complaints and even gunfire. The Zambian government’s response will now be watched closely. Continue reading »
There’s gold in them thar Central American hills. Gold and several other valuable minerals. Mining companies, especially Canadian, are courting the region yet most of the governments are playing hard to get, if not being openly hostile.
All of which must be pretty perplexing to at least some of the companies. World prices of metals remain high while Central American economies are some of the world’s most vulnerable. Surely a slam-dunk for the miners? Continue reading »