Mittal shutdown postponed; ArcelorMittal has announced that their planned shutdown at the Newcastle Furnace has been delayed till the end of March.
The announcement comes after the mill decided to build up steel supplies to carry the industry over the three months that it will be in care and maintenance.
There is the rising concern that South Africa will once again face a shortage of steel at the beginning of the second quarter going into Q3 due to Mittal’s shutdown as well as price increases to go along with the shortage.
Please be mindful of the shutdown and plan accordingly.
Global steel prices expected to remain elevated in 2022, players within the steel sector are becoming increasingly cautious in their purchasing requirements. The forward view on global prices is, gradually, turning more negative, particularly for coil products. The record high values reached towards the end of 2021 took many by surprise.
The peak of the price highs occurred at differing points in each region. European prices peaked at their highest level in June of 2021, while those in North America peaked in September as Asian prices levelled off.
The outlook for the start of 2022 is clouded again by Covid-19 sweeping across the globe. The ominous Omicron variant perhaps slowed the recovery in the steel market.
Prices are expected to find support above historical averages, due to increased mill input expenditure and moves to decarbonise the industry. The economic outlook for 2022 is also relatively strong. This is despite downside risks associated with new Covid variants and the expected tightening of monetary and fiscal policy in many countries.
Supply chain shortages are still disrupting the global steel market and are preventing a strong recovery in 2022. Due to the backlogged steel orders, the demand will remain high throughout the year.
Because of the demand for the limited inventory available, steel prices will continue to go up in 2022. The U.S. steel industry is currently valued at $180 billion and began to boom in 2020 thanks to the disruptions caused by COVID-19.
Increased business and consumer spending habits have driven up the demand for steel-bearing products, which are needed for everything from vehicles to food cans. Buyers in some instances are willing to pay more for these products and will continue to pay increased prices throughout 2022.
ATDF, again denies protest, The Port of Richards Bay was the scene of a peaceful, albeit illegal, protest against the employment of undocumented foreign truck drivers on Thursday morning as protesters pulled over several truck drivers before the police intervened.
Upon arrival at the scene, SAPS spoke to a person who was identified as the leader of ATDF on site however, the secretary for the All Truck Drivers’ Forum, Sifiso Nyathi, said the organisation had nothing to do with the protest and that it appeared that unemployed people were using the name, although they had no affiliation to the forum.
Nyathi said the ATDF would oppose the hiring of illegal immigrants via formal, legal channels. Forums have been set up to engage with all relevant parties and government authorities and hopefully it will result in a workable policy that allows the industry to move forward in a positive and safe way.
Airfreight on a tricky path, spike in demand, soaring rates, and a tricky balance between certain markets remaining closed to curb Covid and others reopening to global trade, necessitate fine footwork from the airfreight sector.
The current situation of high demand and even higher rates was expected to last for the duration of the 1st quarter, before tapering off in Q2.
At least that’s what Aero Africa is hoping for, that there’s respite for shippers somewhere in the near future.
Until then, the struggle to find space and allocation for clients in a confined market continued, especially out of China.
Snags on the ocean side are fuelling an overflow of critical orders to air, sustaining demand, but capacity into Africa and its important sub-Saharan transhipment hub of South Africa remained a problem.
South Africa’s block space agreement out of China is on hold because the carriers are on hold, China cannot commit to freighters in South Africa because they are going into the US where the yield is better and as a result, options out of China have become few and far between, with agents fighting for space that is often elsewhere allocated because of market dynamics which is attributed to the strength of the dollar and the primacy of American imports to name a few.
Ocean freight costs expected to remain high throughout 2022, Shipping rates are expected to stay elevated well into 2022, setting up another year of booming profits for global cargo carriers.
The spot rate for a 40-foot container to the US from Asia peaked at just over US$20,000 last year up from less than US$2,000 a few years ago and was recently hovering near US$14,000.
Tight container capacity and port congestion also mean that longer-term rates set in contracts between carriers and shippers are running at around 200% higher than a year ago, which signals that elevated prices are here to stay for the foreseeable future.
Larger customers like retail or tech giants have the power to negotiate better terms in those deals or absorb the added expenses whereas the smaller importers and exporters that rely on carriers to haul everything from electronics and apparel to grains and chemicals, cannot easily pass those costs along or weather long periods of stretched cash flows.
Regulators from the US, the EU and China met in September and determined there was so far no evidence of anti-competitive behaviour in container shipping. Governments are on high alert as global supply chains are being pushed to the breaking point.
The US Federal Maritime Commission says it has increased monitoring of carrier alliances, to better track trends and spot potential illegal behaviour, such as artificially limiting supply or not competing on prices.
Zambia to continue with plans to sell KCM, Zambia’s state-appointed liquidator who is managing the affairs of KCM said he would proceed with the dismantling of the company and the sale of its assets.
This was after the Lusaka Court of Appeal earlier this month declined to discharge the liquidator, Milingo Lungu, despite ruling earlier that he should arbitrate a dispute with KCM’s majority shareholder, Vedanta Resources.
ZCCM Investment Holdings, a 20.6% stake holder in KCM, applied to put the company into provisional liquidation in 2019. Vedanta argued the step was unlawful as there were conditions in their shareholders’ agreement allowing for dispute resolution.
ZCCM said Vedanta had failed to invest in KCM’s assets and had not paid dividends as previously promised.
Despite being asked to enter into arbitration proceedings with Vedanta, Lungu said that he would divide KCM into halves, effective January 31, and then embark on an asset disposal programme.
Zimplats allowed to set up solar plants. The Zimbabwe Energy Regulatory Authority announced on Friday that it had granted Zimplats a licence to construct, own, operate and maintain a 105 MW solar power plant at Ngezi Mine.
A similar notice was also published but this time for the generation of an 80 MW solar power plant at Zimplats’ Selous Mine in Chegutu.
Zimplats says setting up the two power plants will cost the company as much as $201 million.
Zimplats is not the only miner that has turned to solar power as gold miner Caledonia Mining, which runs Blanket Mine in Zimbabwe is constructing a 12 MW solar plant which is expected to be operational this year and will exclusively supply Blanket with approximately 27% of its daily electricity usage.
Copper prices on the rise, the copper price rose on Wednesday, supported by expectations of further policy easing in China.
March delivery contracts were exchanging hands for $9,856/tonne on the Comex market in New York, up 2.3% compared to Tuesday’s closing.
The most-traded March copper contract on the Shanghai Futures Exchange was steady at $11,026.46/tonne.
China, the world’s biggest buyer of metals, has been stuck in a property market slump, credit stress and repeated virus outbreaks. In response, the central bank this week cut its policy interest rate for the first time in almost two years, signalling the beginning of an easing cycle.
China’s copper exports rose to an annual record of 932,451 tonnes in 2021, according to customs data.
Gold also rose to its highest in two months this past Wednesday.
Fears that insurgents planning more attacks in Cabo Delgado, The SADC has warned that insurgents are regrouping for more coordinated attacks.
While SADC has noted considerable gains in Cabo Delgado, there are genuine fears that insurgents have withdrawn to regroup and are planning rejuvenated attacks.
“The insurgency is not yet neutralised. The violent extremists are regrouping, launching attacks from several parts of Cabo Delgado and they are also expanding to neighbouring province Niassa where they have launched significant attacks,” said Professor Adriano Nuvunga – the Director of the Centre for Democracy and Development.
SADC sent in its Standby force into Mozambique’s gas-oil rich Cabo Delgado in July last year, a month after Rwanda sent in troops.
At the onset of the SADC Mission in Mozambique, Nuvunga said the insurgents were disbanding. However, six months later, they had changed their strategy.
At the beginning of the deployment, the country saw violent extremists disbanding. Now they have seen them regroup and move in terms of recruitment.
On December 15 last year, Islamic extremists in Nova Zambezia, Macomia district, beheaded a pastor and instructed his wife to take his head to the police with a message: “While you [government forces] are walking on tarred roads, real men [insurgents] are in the woods.”
As a show of power, the insurgents operating from the bush ambushed SAMIM forces in the east of Chai in the northern Macomia district on the night of December 19, resulting in the death of a South African soldier.
Intel also suggests that the insurgents have support within communities they operate, with some civilians assisting them in transporting arms.
Since the insurgency began in 2017, there have been 1,111 cases of political violence with 3,627 reported fatalities during these attacks and 1,587 reported fatalities from violence targeting civilians.
“Great things are done by a series of small things brought together.”
Steel price increase reminder! As of 1st May 2021 steel prices on flat product in South Africa will be increasing by R2,250 ton as announced by ArcelorMittal earlier this month, the biggest single increase the country has seen, taking the grand total of increases this year to R6000,00 ton.
Thankfully there has been no increase notices from the other steel mills within South Africa.
Introducing Thungela Resources, Anglo American PLC will be separating its South African coal mines into a new business this year.
Anglo American has been mulling an exit from thermal coal for over a year now and constantly reiterated that separating its South African business was the most likely outcome.
The new business, known as Thungela Resources Ltd is expected to be listed in Johannesburg and London in June. Investors will receive one Thungela share for every ten Anglo American shares.
The world’s biggest miners have been looking to exit thermal coal mining as investors say they don’t want exposure to the fuel and pollution. Anglo American PLC has already dramatically reduced its production in recent years, cutting output by more than half.
Implats Q3 production rises, South Africa’s Impala Platinum’s third quarter group output rose by 4% to 5.59 million tonnes at managed operations, with higher volumes reported at Impala Rustenburg, Impala Canada and Marula.
High prices for metals mined by Implats such as platinum, palladium and rhodium gave the mining company a lifeline despite the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The platinum miner said group production in the nine months to March 31 rose by 11% to 17.38 million tonnes, the miner also noted the benefits from the inclusion of Impala Canada, which was bought in 2019, for the full reporting period.
Border updates, last week, transporters working the North-South Corridor into the Copperbelt and back were advised that there were holdups being experienced at Chirundu Border Post between Zambia and Zimbabwe.
The queue was roughly around 7kms long with around a 2-3 day waiting period for when trucks could move, there was no real confirmation as to why the border had a hold up, as it stands, its business as usual at the Chirundu border.
Staying in Zambia, there is some good news looming, with the leaking of the anticipated Kazangula bridge being opened. An inside source has told the Transit Assistance Bureau that a date has been proposed for the long-awaited opening of the Kazungula Bridge being May 10.
Although it seems too close to be true, being less than two weeks away, transporters are becoming quite excited by the announcement made by Transist.
The long-delayed structure, which was completed last September may finally be opened after being closed to traffic while public sector concerns were delaying the process and Zambia’s perennial cash flow issues impeded its ability to pay its share of fees to the contractors.
As of today, transporters entering Botswana via Pioneer Border Post from South Africa have been advised that health authorities in Gaborone have reinstated the PCR test.
The testing measures at the border has been tightened because drivers have been diverting their journeys to Pioneer because of not having to furnish PCR results.
The news has had an immediate effect in cross-border transport circles, with hauliers saying PCR costs which are roughly $46 and regular transits in and out of landlocked Botswana are going to hit them hard.
The pandemic has affected all forms of transport over the past year whether it be road, sea, air or rail transport and it seems that the struggle will continue for some time as ocean freight costs as well as air freight has surged with no positive outlook at the moment, in some countries such as America, it is noted that cargo can sit up to a month before it can be moved to the ports for transport.
Iron ore demand drives global steel prices, steel prices are spiking from Asia to North America, and iron ore’s relentless march towards a record is accelerating, as bets on a global economic recovery fuel frenzied demand.
The outside world is finally catching up with the Asian markets as a global rebound drives a powerful wave of buying that cannot be matched by production.
The manufacturing and construction sectors are ramping up production as governments have pledged to splurge on infrastructure as they set their eyes on post covid growth.
Prices for hot-rolled coil are up three times the “normal” price in North America and they continue to soar in Europe. In China, steel is at its most expensive since 2008.
It is expected that worldwide steel demand will grow 5.8% this year to exceed pre-pandemic levels, China’s consumption which contributes to about half of the global total will keep growing from record levels, whilst the rest of the world rebounds strongly. It is noted that demand outside of China in April has been higher than that of previous years.
Iron ore is enjoying a near record level as spot prices are less than $1 away from their peak of $194/tonne. China’s steelmakers keep output rates at more than a billion tonnes a year to supply consumption to the ever-demanding economy, Beijing has set a goal of reducing steel production this year however that could prove difficult with consumption as strong as it currently is.
Top miners are enjoying their takings as Iron ore prices have bolstered their earnings even though they continue to struggle to supply enough of the raw material.
On the Stainless Steel front, the Chinese government has cancelled all tax refunds for Stainless Steel sheet, plate, pipe and fittings thus increasing production cost by roughly 13%.
Zimbabwe gold output down, Zimbabwe’s gold production fell 30% to 3.98 tonnes in the first quarter of this year, while export earnings from the yellow metal also declined.
The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe did not give a reason for the decline, but small-scale miners who produce half of the mineral blamed the abnormal rainfall during this period which in turn resulted in shafts being flooded.
The Reserve Bank said the nation, which faces constant shortages of foreign currency earned $200 million from gold exports in the first quarter which is down from $226 million during the same period last year.
Total gold output tumbled nearly a third to 19 tonnes last year after small-scale producers diverted the metal to illegal private dealers who pay more than the central bank.
Zambia assures investors of better policies, Zambia’s president Edgar Lungu assured mining investors, in a speech this past Thursday, that his country will develop a more simplified tax administration system to facilitate them.
Zambia’s mining tax regime has been a thorny issue since the privatization of mines in the early 1990s. He said the he expects the mining investors to take advantage of the improved copper price of close to $9,000 a ton to up production and create jobs which in turn should fulfil the investors social responsibilities to benefit the locals.
Zambia is Africa’s second highest copper producer and is hoping to increase its production from the current 800,000 tons per annum to a million tons per annum.
The key to achieve this goal will be through a continued working relationship with investors such as First Quantum Minerals, which runs the country’s biggest mining operation at Kalumbila, northwest of the country.
Jubilee’s Project Roan delivers its first copper concentrate, the successful delivery of copper concentrate from Project Roan to the fully operational Sable Refinery is the first major step in the company’s commitment to achieve the targeted production of 25,000 tons per annum of copper within the next four years and taking a leading role in the processing of surface tailings in Zambia.
Project Roan is the first of three copper processing facilities that Jubilee target to implement to achieve this goal. Completion of Phase 1 on schedule demonstrates the team’s ability to deliver on their goals in a new jurisdiction.
The targeted significant ramp up of copper operations in Zambia is expected to further improve on Jubilee’s recently published record interim results for the six-month period to 31 December 2020, generating long term, quality earnings.
The company is confident that the completion of Phase 2 of Project Roan will be on time during Q3 2021, which will further increase the copper concentrate being delivered to the Sable Refinery.
Kamoa Copper launches corporate identity, Kamoa Copper will operate the Joint Ventures mines in the high-grade Kolwezi copper district of Lualaba, in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Ivanhoe Mines and Zijin Mining each own 39.6% of Kamoa Copper, while the DRC government owns the balance.
The Kamoa-Kakula project which is operated by Kamoa Copper, is expected to begin producing copper in July and through its phased expansions, will become one of the world’s largest copper producers.
According to a progress update issued by Ivanhoe in April, Kamoa Copper shattered all previous records in March, mining 400,000 tons of ore grading 5.36% copper, including 100,000 tons of ore grading 8.7% copper from the centre of the Kakula mine.
The company’s first phase of its 3.8-million-tonne-a-year mining and milling operation is 92% complete and the commissioning of its concentrator plant is under way.
Troika summit in Mozambique postponed, The Southern African Development Community has postponed an Extraordinary Troika Summit of the Organ on Politics, Defence and Security due to the unavailability of heads of states.
The leaders of SADC agreed to the postponement as SADC Organ chairperson, Botswana president Dr Mokgweetsi Masisi is currently in quarantine and incoming chairperson South Africa president Cyril Ramaphosa has been testifying at the Zondo Commission on South Africa.
The meeting, which was expected to take place this past Thursday in Maputo, is now expected to take place at a later date.
When the heads of state met on April 8, they, among other things, mulled over measures to address terrorism in Mozambique after the continued attacks by the Islamist insurgents in Cabo Delgado where dozens of civilians were killed and many others displaced.
SADC leaders directed an immediate fact-finding mission to assess and investigate the situation on the ground in Mozambique before and form of response is actioned.
“Seeing is different than being told”
Biggest one yet! ArcelorMittal SA has just recently given out notice of yet again another steel increase for the month of May, the increase sitting at a staggering R2,250.00 per ton is the biggest one yet.
This will now be the fifth consecutive increase this year with a possible positive outlook in the third quarter where prices are expected to drop.
Along with increased fuel, electricity and labour hikes this won’t be the end of the dark road within the steel sector.
With material being so scarce in South Africa and constant price increases, will SA still be an important game player within the steel sector? Only time will tell.
Border updates, there has been an increase in hijackings at the Beitbridge border post and with the latest developments, Ekhuruleni police officers have been implicated as accomplices.
The National Traffic Anti-Corruption Unit (Ntacu) has slammed the brakes on a traffic and police officers’ syndicate, which has allegedly been hijacking trucks on major Gauteng transportation routes.
The investigation is ongoing and more arrests can be expected. The suspects are expected to appear in court soon.
This seems to be the only burning issue of this nature across Southern Africa borders.
We would like to extend our deepest condolences to the family of the driver who tragically and unnecessarily lost his life in a robbery at Beitbridge recently.
Ever Given consequences being realised, not only has Egypt filed a multi-million pound compensation claim against the owner of the container ship but Suez Canal Authority has also estimated a $300 million bill for “loss of reputation” and an equal amount charged as a “salvage bonus”.
The responsibility for this massive mishap, that took at least 800 people and more than a dozen tugboats to correct, is now a ping pong between the Japanese vessel owner and the line operator Evergreen.
General Average (GA) was declared by the owner of the vessel which means that there is a potential of spreading the cost of significant expenses amongst shippers.
PowerChina hydro project delayed, work on the 2,400-megawatt facility had been scheduled to start in 2020, but yet another victim of the COVID-19 pandemic, this $4 billion hydropower plant has been suspended until towards the end of 2022.
This project awarded to General Electric Co. and Power Construction Corp. of China aims to ease electricity shortages to both Zambia and Zimbabwe will potentially be funded by domestic pension funds in Zambia and Zimbabwe.
Trade and Development Bank a Bujumbura which is a Burundi-based multilateral lender, has been appointed as the lead co-ordinator for financing the project.
A new coal player in Zim, Contango Holdings’ Lubu project in Zimbabwe, which comprises a substantial coking coal resource, ticks all the right boxes to deliver a financially lucrative business.
Lubu covers 19,236 hectares of the highly prospective Karroo Mid Zambezi coal basin which is located in the Hwange mining district in North Western Zimbabwe.
Historically, around US$20 million has been spent on advancing the project, including the completion of a pre-feasibility study, resourced modelling and mine planning with test work to confirm the presence of thermal and coking coal.
Contango started as a shell company looking to acquire a near-term production asset rather than an exploration asset, and this led to its interest in and purchase of Lubu.
Having reviewed multiple assets, it was determined that Lubu was a project that could bring into production quickly without the need for years of geological work to validate it. With extensive geological work completed, there was no exploration risk involved in the asset.
ZISCO seeking new investors, Zimbabwe’s state-controlled iron and steel company ZISCO has invited new investors to help revive operations at the company that has been the target of interest from Indian and Chinese investors in the past.
ZISCO acting chairman Martin Manuhwa said earlier this week that the firm was again looking for new investors interested in resuscitating the company.
The successful investor would be expected to contract out at least 35% of engineering, procurement and construction business to the local community.
ZISCO owns an iron ore mining unit with an installed capacity of 2.16 million tonnes of ore a year as well as a wire products company.
Interested investors should submit their expression of interest by April 30. Successful investors would then be invited to participate in the bidding process for the funding.
CATL to acquire stake in Kisanfu, Battery maker Contemporary Amperex Technology (CATL) will be acquiring a stake in the Kisanfu copper-cobalt mine in the Democratic Republic of Congo for $137.5m.
According to the agreement, CATL New Energy will acquire 25% in China Molybdenum (CMOC) unit KFM Holding, KFM Holding owns a 95% stake in Kisanfu mine while the remaining 5% stake is held by the DRC Government.
The deal is expected to provide CATL with access to what is claimed to be one of the world’s largest, highest-grade undeveloped cobalt and copper projects.
Hunger threat, Almost 1-million people face severe hunger in northern Mozambique, where hundreds of thousands have fled Islamist militant attacks, the UN food agency advised earlier this week.
Islamic State-linked insurgents in March attacked Palma, a town in Cabo Delgado province next to gas projects under development by companies including Total and Exxon. All work in the region has since come to halt as the threat levels are at its peak.
The World Food Programme has noted that 950,000 people are now hungry in Mozambique and has appealed to donors for $82m to confront the crisis.
It seems that that the world has finally opened its eyes as SADC leaders all met in Maputo to discuss a way forward and to determine the response required to fight off the insurgents.
Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa said the meeting also agreed to revive a so-called SADC brigade to intervene in the conflict.
It is not confirmed that Mozambique has agreed that SADC forces would help the government fight the Islamic State-linked insurgency.
Under SADC rules, a member state must make an official request for the group to deploy the brigade.
SADC leaders are scheduled to meet again on April 29 to discuss the issue.
“Sticks in a bundle are unbreakable”
Steel price increase! With the current steel woes South Africa is facing, there is a steel increase on the cards for January 2021, so far two major mills have announced an increase across the board of around 3-6% on all products whilst the industry anxiously awaits an announcement from ArcelorMittal.
So far the steel shortage situation remains the same as we eagerly await Mittal’s furnaces to fire back up early next year.
There are also concerns coming from the Manufacturing and Engineering sector that the possible 10% electricity hike for next year could be detrimental to the revival of the sector.
Border updates, there has been a complete U-turn at Beitbridge, following for the previous positive update, Beitbridge is once again bottlenecked.
The southbound queue of loaded and backhaul trucks heading out of Zimbabwe to South Africa is again being snagged by bottlenecking at the Beitbridge Border Post. Zimra has said that they are doing everything in their power to relieve the congestion. So far the northbound queue is clear.
South Africa’s Skilpadshek Border Post which is on the Trans-Kalahari Corridor (TKC) through Botswana continued to be affected by slow coronavirus testing procedures this morning. According to the Transit Assistance Bureau, the building backlog at the border stems from Botswana’s inability to cope with the testing of truck drivers for Covid-19.
A decision taken last month to not test drivers coming from South Africa who are in possession of a polymerise chain reaction (PCR) negative test result which is not older than 72 hours has not had the impact they thought it would have on easing congestion.
The notion that Botswana seems incapable of coping with capacity requirements for testing drivers not in possession of PCR results only serves to support criticism that the country’s inflexible Covid-19 testing regimes are impeding its strategic logistics position in the sub-Saharan region.
In the meantime, transporters using the TKC to get to Namibia are increasingly avoiding the corridor, preferring instead to bypass Botswana altogether which in turn has bottlenecked the Nakop Border post in Namibia.
Container rates soar, exports from South-East Asia have recovered fast from the COVID-19 pandemic however the shipping costs have climbed drastically.
This is due to a high demand and no supply as trade routes have been interrupted by the pandemic. Shipping lines are also taking advantage of this by using the peak season surcharge as a reason.
The cost of putting one container on a ship can cost in the region of $5,000.00 up from an average of $1,300.00 earlier this year.
It is expected that the current rates will continue into early to mid-next year.
Rio Completes Copper Project, Rio Tinto has completed the initial work on the Midnight Sun Mining’s Solwezi Licenses in Zambia.
After incurring project expenditures in excess of $3 million during the initial work phase, Rio will now proceed to the next stage of the agreement.Top of Form
This would allow the company to earn a 51% interest in the Solwezi licenses by spending a further $16 million on the project within four years, as well as by making cash payments to Midnight Sun.
The project is situated on the Zambia-Congo copper belt and is immediately adjacent to Africa’s largest copper mining complex, First Quantum’s Kansanshi mine.
Zambia in negotiations with IMF, Zambia has just begun negotiations for financial support from the International Monetary Fund. The IMF announced this in an official statement
This announcement comes at a time when the Zambian economy has been declining due to several years of crisis. Drought, difficulties in the mining sector, and rising debt had pushed the country to adopt austerity measures in recent years to cope with the situation. However, the covid-19 pandemic that has plagued global economic activity has contributed to the accelerated decline of the Southern African country’s economy.
Great Dyke Sells Stake, Great Dyke Investments who is planning to build Zimbabwe’s biggest platinum mine, has sold a 4.4% stake to Fossil Mines as Covid-19-disrupted fundraising for the venture.
Fossil, which is Zimbabwean owned, will invest $30m in the Darwendale project, through a combination of cash and services, including engineering, procurement and construction. That leaves Vi Holding and Zimbabwe’s Landela Mining Venture each with a 47.8% stake. The sale values Great Dyke Investments at $680m.
The covid-19 pandemic has delayed fundraising for the project, which was originally due to be completed in 2020. Financing of $665m is now expected to be finalised in the first quarter of 2021.
The Darwendale project has the potential to become one of the world’s biggest platinum mines and its development is central to the Zimbabwean government’s plans to reboot a collapsing economy.
Zimbabwe has the world’s third-largest platinum group metal reserves after SA and Russia.
Millions lost to illicit mining, Zimbabwe continues to lose millions of revenue in illicit gold mining, In Mazowe, 40 km outside the capital Harare, artisanal miners have broadened their search for gold ore as they continue digging the soil underground in some cases to over 50 metres deep. Some artisanal miners are receiving up to $40 per gram of gold.
According to government statistics, the bulk of the gold is extracted by artisanal and small-scale miners who are responsible for 63% of the recorded production. In most cases, the artisanal miners operate illegally and do not sell the mineral to the state-owned buyer.
Trucker violence on the down, following from the last report, it seems police and other law agencies have managed to clamp down on the truck attacks. Currently there has been no news of any attacks over the past week. Hopefully this will remain.
Kamoa-Kakula stockpile building up, Ivanhoe Mines has announced that underground development at the Kamoa-Kakula copper project, in the Democratic Republic of Congo, produced a combined 250 000 t of ore, grading 4.85% copper, in November.
The tonnage from the Kakula and Kansoko mines is 29% higher than the volumes achieved in the previous month whilst the grade of copper also increased month-on-month from 4.01% to 4.85%.
The project’s surface stockpiles now contain about 1.25-million tonnes of high-grade and medium-grade ore, which has an estimated grade of 3.75% copper and is on track to have around three million tonnes of high and medium grade ore stockpiled prior to the planned start of production in July 2021.
The Kamoa-Kakula’s first phase involves mining and milling 3.8 million tonnes of ore a year, whilst a concentrator that is expected to handle the same amount of volume is currently being built.
US Support counter-terrorism, The United States is not considering sending troops to Mozambique to combat the terrorist threat in the northern province of Cabo Delgado, but are willing to aid civilian counter-terrorism capabilities.
The United States wants to be Mozambique’s security partner of choice in strengthening border security and in strengthening its capacity to counter terrorist activity.
Terrorists in the northern Mozambican province of Cabo Delgado are apparently dying daily as the Mozambican police have managed to cut out their supply system. It is also noted that the defence force managed to block out an insurgent attack on Maputo as well as neighbouring cities.
There is also concern that the terrorists are using a port or aerodrome in Cabo Delgado to move drugs and guns into the country. However the Cabo Delgado coast and offshore islands are under the control of the Mozambican authorities
Earlier this week Islamist militants attacked and occupied a northern Mozambican village in their closest raid yet to a giant gas project. The assault came late Monday night on the village of Mute, some 20 kilometres from the Afungi peninsula which is the centre of a multi-billion-dollar scheme to build a liquefied natural gas plant in Cabo Delgado province.
The attackers targeted government soldiers in the village and torched homes.
The attack has raised concerns about security at the Afungi peninsula, where the French energy major Total and the United States’ Exxon Mobil are among the investors.
Air force reinforcements from Dyck Advisory Group have been deployed from Pemba to bolster up government troops seeking to retake Mute.
“However long the night may last, there will be a morning”
Steel shortages continue! South Africa’s steel woes continue with a bleak output on the horizon, capacity is at an all-time low with manufacturers and stockists battling to deliver and the continuous steel increases further damaging the sector.
The Steel Giants have put out notice of restructuring at its Newcastle facility expected to result in significant job losses of around 2,500 workers.
On a positive note, furnaces at Mittal’s two plants in South Africa are on schedule to be fired up early 2021.
Joining the band wagon, South Africa is imposing export taxes to either collect more revenue or modify the flow of goods across borders.
The Customs and Excise Duty Act has been amended to allow the minister of finance to impose an export duty whenever he sees it beneficial in the public interest. The amendment is expected to be effective March next year.
South Africa will also be introducing an export tax on scrap metal. There’s been talk about a 30% export tax on chrome and further export duties on iron ore as well as leather and maize. No implementation dates have been announced.
The export tax on Chrome has come as a shock and many of the domestic producers have frowned upon this and fear that this will backfire on the country.
Border updates, Beitbridge border post is now business as usual, little to no delays are being experienced currently.
Congestion at the crucial Chirundu Border Post between Zimbabwe and Zambia has been cleared following the bottlenecking of trucks on the northbound journey into the Copperbelt. The intermittent spike in volumes crossing the Zambezi at Chirundu was due to increased cargo coming through from the Port of Beira in Mozambique.
It was noted that the commodity coming from Mozambique was fuel. This was a result of the Zambian government deciding to issue a statutory instrument which ordered that 50% of freight in Zambia be reserved for local transporters, the country had found itself running short of essential cargo like fuel.
The Zambian government then set aside a three-week period that would allow other transporters to deliver fuel as the Petroleum Transporters Association of Zambia couldn’t keep up with volume requirements which in turn triggered a spike in cargo from the landlocked nation’s closest neighbouring port, Beira.
As cross-border road hauliers wait to hear from Zambia’s and Botswana’s transport authorities about when the completed Kazaungula bridge across the Zambezi will open, another truck has slipped off the pontoon into the mighty river’s depths.
It’s the second rig that has rolled off a ferry at the important crossing which is still served by three pontoons while the bridge, already finished in September, sits unused in the background.
It remains anyone’s guess as to why there’s such a holdup to open the bridge.
Trucker violence surges! on the night of 20th November 2020, 10 trucks were attacked and torched on the N3 in South Africa, this attack marks the single biggest attack on the country’s main supply route between Gauteng and the Port of Durban. Just a few days later another truck was attacked and earlier this week a truck driver was shot and burnt to death in his cabin, throughout the week there has been various attacks on trucks with the latest one coming just last night where a driver was shot at from both sides of his vehicle but luckily managed to flea just in time before his truck was torched.
The attacks are allegedly backed by the All Truck Driver Foundation (ATDF), a vigilante group opposed to foreign national truck drivers working in South Africa’s transport sector. ATDF has said that the attacks on transporters stem from employers in the sector allegedly favouring foreign nationals because they are paid less and are exploitable because many don’t hold valid work permits.
Earlier in the year ATDF threatened to embark on a strike that would cut off the Durban to Beitbridge corridor, however there was a court interdict and the protest never took place.
The Cross-Border Road Transport Agency (CBRTA) has added its voice to pleas that transporters consider not working at night, thereby hopefully diminishing the life-threatening situation in which truck drivers find themselves as the violence targeting South Africa’s freight industry drags into its sixth day.
Ducking and diving, Deputy Gauteng Police Commissioner, Major General Daniel Mthombeni, circumvented the issue as industry stakeholders demanded concrete action to address the growing insurrection in the road freight industry.
He told attendees at a meeting held in Alberton yesterday that arrests had been made earlier this week and called for the establishment of a forum. Members of the industry however made it clear that a few arrests were not enough.
Transport and security companies said that they were aware of the ‘hot spots’ and asked why police visibility in these high-risk areas was still so poor and why there weren’t any functioning cameras on major highways.
A security company representative said on many occasions he would call the police to ask if certain routes were safe but even the police were unsure most of time.
Great Dyke making progress, Great Dyke Investments who has been pinned as Zimbabwe’s next platinum giant is ahead of schedule in boosting Zimbabwe’s platinum exports by 2022. According to the mine’s chief operations officer, Mr. Munashe Shava, extraction which commenced earlier this year will tally with the company’s projections of exports by 2022.
The Great Dyke Investments mine in Darwendale which follows Zimplats and Unki mines and is one of the new investments is expected to help the country reach a US$12 billion mining industry by 2023.
GDI is 50 percent owned by Russia’s Vi Holding, and 50 percent owned by Zimbabwe’s Landela Mining Venture. The project has an excess of 180 million tonnes of ore containing 17 million ounces of platinum group metals and gold, with an average grade of 2,93 grammes per tonne.
The mine expects to start contributing to the country’s gross domestic product by 2022 although it has already contributed to the country’s fight against the Covid-19 where it supplied local health institutions with machinery and PPE.
DRC to formalise Artisanal Mining? EGC and Trafigura signed an offtake agreement in a bid to formalise artisanal and small-scale cobalt mining in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
The trading agreement includes the provision of finance by Trafigura to fund the creation of strict, controlled artisanal mining zones, installation of ore purchasing stations as well as the costs related to the transparent and traceable delivery of cobalt hydroxide to Trafigura on an export cleared basis.
Under the supply terms, EGC will ensure that the ore marketed by Trafigura complies with OECD Due Diligence Guidance.
Earlier in the year Glencore made a U-Turn and also decided to back artisanal mining of cobalt. The group aims to end child labour in the cobalt mining sector and to improve the working conditions in Congo.
Almost three quarters of the world’s cobalt comes from Congo where Glencore owns two of the largest mines. Demand in cobalt is expected to surge in the coming years as the sales of electric-vehicles are said to take off.
Zambia’s copper output increases, Zambia who is Africa’s second-largest copper miner, produced 646,111 tonnes of the metal in the first nine months of 2020, up from 590,321 tonnes in the same period last year.
The Southern African nation now expects total production for the year to reach 820,000 tonnes, driven by rising copper prices.Bottom of Form
This comes as good news to Zambia, who is the first African country to default on a bond payment during the covid-19 pandemic by missing a $42.5 million interest payment on part of its international debt.
Zambia’s mining sector has been in the spotlight as the country’s financial situation deteriorated this year which prompted Glencore to shut its Mopani Copper Mines operation.
With that being said, the Zambian government has advised that negotiations with Glencore regarding increasing the government’s stake in Mopani were nearing a conclusion. No information has been given out about the size of the stake that state-owned ZCCM Investments Holdings is trying to acquire was given.
Tanzania to join in fighting terrorism! Tanzania’s government says is teaming up with Mozambique to launch a joint operation against violent attacks by Islamist militants along their shared border.
Several recent attacks blamed on Islamist extremists have targeted the border village of Ktaya in Tanzania’s Mtwara region.
Police say more than 175 houses were set on fire and some people were killed by assailants, who, authorities say, fled into neighbouring Mozambique.
Tanzania has already increased security along the border and it is now joining forces with Mozambique to contain what it calls terrorists.
Some opposition parties and rights groups are raising concerns about how the Tanzanian government plans to tackle the threat.
Tanzania becomes the 4th country that has pledged their allegiance in fighting the terrorist scourge, Britain, Zimbabwe and South Africa have voiced their aid however we are not seeing any troops headed to Mozambique.
Some Zimbabwean citizens are concerned about soldiers going into Mozambique, fearing that, that would encourage terrorists to infiltrate their country.
“For tomorrow belongs to the people who prepare for it today”