How South Africa’s rural communities are getting a raw deal from mining

    Some of the most profitable South African mines are situated in the areas of the country that are home to traditional communities and are governed in terms of customary law. Many of these developments have led to the destruction of the natural environment. And mining activities have also disrupted local ways of life. For example, residential homes have been destroyed. In others, violence has erupted within communities leading to the deaths of people opposed to mining. On top of this communities rarely benefit from mining. Instead, they’re exposed to pollution and health risks as well as disruptions…

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Vast subsidies keeping the fossil fuel industry afloat should be put to better use

Capitalism has often been identified as the underlying cause of the climate crisis. A leading voice on the subject is Naomi Klein, one of the climate movements most influential thinkers, whose seminal book on climate change was subtitled Capitalism vs. the Climate. She is one of many voices identifying capitalism as the cause of climate change. Often central within the capitalism versus the climate framing is the idea that the heart of capitalist ideology – free market fundamentalism – has fuelled the climate crisis. But this line of argument often glosses over the fact…

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Anglo American cuts diamond production goal as buyers balk

  Diversified miner Anglo American lowered its forecast for diamond production as demand from its customers slumped in the first half of the year. Anglo said its De Beers unit will now mine about 31 million carats this year compared with an earlier target of 31 million to 33 million carats. The company said it’s producing to match demand after “weaker trading conditions” this year. Key insights Diamond miners are facing a mini crisis as demand remains weak, while supply, especially for smaller and cheaper stones, is abundant. That’s put…

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Platinum giants eye Sibanye’s gold mining deal as wage yardstick

  South African platinum producers could use Sibanye Gold’s pay settlement with gold miners earlier this year as a benchmark in wage talks with labour unions, according to a person familiar with the matter. Following a five-month strike that was eventually declared illegal, Sibanye agreed to increase the pay of workers at its three gold mines by 5.5%. Sibanye’s agreement is viewed as a good proxy for what’s possible in the platinum industry as the cost structures are similar to deep-level gold mining, said the person, asking not to be…

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Extreme weather and low income hurt farmers who make 80% of food

  Small farmers who are key to world food output are producing and earning less as they face challenges to access land and financial services, the United Nations said. That’s exacerbating food insecurity across the globe at a time when extreme weather is already hurting farm productivity, according to the UN’s Food & Agriculture Organisation in Rome. The world is also not on track to meet many goals for sustainable agriculture and natural resource management, the FAO said in a report on Thursday. Read: Livestock Wealth ‘crowdfarming’ secures backing from RMI,…

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Gautrain expansion on the cards

The Gautrain Management Agency is planning to spend up to R2 billion to acquire second hand additional rolling stock from the United Kingdom to deal with the capacity constraints on the high-speed train network. Jack van der Merwe, chief executive of the Gautrain Management Agency, says a team has just returned from the UK where they identified three rolling stock companies they are now negotiating with. Speaking at the Southern African Transport Conference this week, Van der Merwe said the agency is looking at bringing in between 18 and 35…

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Livestock Wealth’s ‘crowdfarming’ gets backing from RMI, Woolworths

Agri-tech entrepreneur and CEO of Livestock Wealth Ntuthuko Shezi is bullish about South Africa’s agriculture sector. He has good reason to be – his ‘crowdfarming’ venture has just secured financial backing from Rand Merchant Investment Holdings (RMI) and has started supplying retail giant Woolworths with free-range beef. Speaking to Moneyweb during a presentation at its Johannesburg offices on Wednesday, Shezi confirmed RMI’s financial support but said he could not reveal the value of the investment. “It’s a big boost for us both in terms of capital to grow the business and…

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Construction industry in survival mode

  There appears to be little light at the end of the tunnel for South Africa’s beleaguered construction industry, with many major listed construction companies still fighting for their survival. Basil Read, Group Five, Esor Construction and Liviero Group are in business rescue while others, such as Aveng, have been forced to downscale their operations to strengthen their balance sheets and improve their liquidity. Read: What government should do to save the construction sector The problems in the industry have been largely attributed to a combination of a lack of large…

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Implats plans to embark on $250m debt-to-equity swop

  JOHANNESBURG – Cash-flush Impala Platinum (Implats) yesterday announced plans to embark on a $250million (R3.48billion) debt-to-equity swop to bolster its balance sheet while making the most of the reprieve of surging metal prices and the weak exchange rate. Chief executive Nico Muller said the group was looking to redeem its convertible bond due in 2022 and ultimately introduce a dividend that was last paid in 2014. “The optimisation of Implats’ balance sheet through a reduction and restructuring of existing debt is a key pillar of Implats’ strategy to reposition…

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Ford to create 1200 jobs as Silverton plant expands

  JOHANNESBURG – Ford Motor Company of Southern Africa (FMCSA) has said it planned to create at least 1200 new jobs at its Silverton assembly plant in Pretoria as it expanded production in order to meet increasing demand for the new Ranger, Ranger Raptor and Everest. The company said yesterday that expanded production would add about 10000 jobs within the total value chain. FMCSA said the shift would begin working in August to take its total headcount in South Africa to more than 5000 employees. “The R3billion investment in our…

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