Sappi’s fate is not in its own hands — but that doesn’t seem to be a bad thing

Sappi’s share price was up 18% on 19 October which sparked some interest in a company with a volatile past. It has moved from buckling under debt to shifting strategy from its former paper trail to feeding into a cellulose market which has a significant number of Chinese producers. This has left Sappi with little wiggle room, but wiggling it is. Sappi is now more exposed to the expanding textile market than the shrinking paper market as a result of its growing exposure to dissolving wood pulp used in cellulose.…

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China Has Copper Flying Like a FANG Stock

Bloomberg Opinion) — Copper has touched $7,000 per metric ton on the London Metal Exchange, having climbed roughly 60% from a late-March nadir. The industrial metal is trading at levels unseen since 2018 despite a surge in coronavirus infections in Europe and beyond, stockpiles rising off recent lows, and expectations of a surplus in 2021. The reason is China, which is dominating the 24-million-ton per year market like never before thanks to a recovery that is outpacing other economies. The metal’s rebound from four-year lows in March mirrors the rally in that other gravity-defying asset class, the FANG-powered U.S.…

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South Africa needs R178bn to help transition from coal, study says

South Africa needs a climate finance transaction of $11 billion (R178 billion) to help the country transition from coal to renewable energy and to soften the blow for communities dependent on the mining and use of the fossil fuel, a University of Cape Town study said. South Africa, through state utility Eskom Holdings, is almost entirely dependent on coal for electricity. The country produces the same quantity of greenhouse gases as the UK, which has an economy eight times larger. “The study envisions a climate finance transaction of $11 billion…

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How SA mining proved to be resilient in the face of Covid-19

The Covid-19 pandemic has been a challenge that no one could have anticipated. It has had a wide-reaching impact on all industries across the globe, and the South African mining sector is no exception. While necessary precautions were put in place as early as possible, there’s still no telling just how much the mining industry will be affected in the long term. One thing we do know is that despite what seems to be the light at the end of the tunnel, with the easing of lockdown restrictions, we cannot…

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South Africa’s cities to switch to solar as Eskom monopoly ends

South Africa’s cities to switch to solar as Eskom monopoly ends  In addition to improving security of supply, the move will allow the cities to boost their fight against climate change by using power that doesn’t result in the emission of greenhouse gases. Still, it will slash revenue for Eskom, which is struggling to service a $30 billion debt bill. “Internationally many cities are at the forefront of dealing with climate-change disasters and so have adopted proactive climate-change responses,” Lauren Hermanus, director of Adapt, a South African company that provides…

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It’s time for a revolution: Government gazettes SA’s 4IR blueprint

The report that outlines SA’s strategy and planned response to the fourth industrial revolution (4IR) has been gazetted. This comes shortly after Cabinet approved its publication, charting a way forward for the framework that makes recommendations on how best the country can position itself in the global 4IR context. Compiled by the Presidential Commission on 4IR (PC4IR), the report was promulgated in the Government Gazette dated 23 October 2020. According to the PC4IR, the fourth industrial revolution is an opportunity for SA to achieve Vision 2030 and beyond. In the gazette, it…

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South Africans aren’t being protected from fake sanitisers. Here’s what needs to be done

By Lisa Korsten and Willeke de Bruin A wave of panic buying struck many countries when national states of disaster were announced in response to the global Covid-19 pandemic. Overnight, toilet paper, cleaning products and hand sanitisers became the most sought-after products on the market. This was true in South Africa too. Production facilities for raw materials of hand sanitisers experienced an increase of nearly 400% in bulk orders. Suppliers could not keep up with sudden mass orders for hundreds of thousands of litres. In response to the shortage, governments…

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Automotive industry investment in SA set to decline

    Planned capital investment by South Africa’s automotive industry, which increased in 2019 to its second highest level on record at R7.2 billion, appears set to decline until there is a global recovery in GDP growth and export markets from the impact of Covid-19. A new National Association of Automobile Manufacturers of South Africa (Naamsa) confidence index, which anonymously canvassed the opinions of each of the CEOs of the seven automotive original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) in South Africa, revealed that 64.7% of them believe investment expenditure declined in the…

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Why a South African community mistrusts big industry and what needs to change

  For most of the 20th century, manufacturing, mining and other industries in South Africa developed without many legal restrictions. This resulted in industrial risks such as environmental pollution, contamination and health impacts. The fact that industrial development took place close to poor communities wasn’t considered important. Unfortunately, the post-apartheid geographic landscape hasn’t changed much. There are many examples of South African communities and environments exposed to industrial risks. Since the country’s democratic transition in 1994, important regulations and legislation have been developed about the impact of industry on the environment and society. But air…

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