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Newmont ranked mining industry’s overall leader in sustainability again

Newmont Mining Corporation, the parent company of Newmont Ghana Gold Limited (Ahafo Mine) and Newmont Golden Ridge Limited (Akyem Mine) has been ranked the mining industry’s overall leader in sustainability for the second consecutive time by the Dow Jones Sustainability World Index (DJSI-World).

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This achievement also marks the tenth consecutive year Newmont has been included on the DJSI-World, making it the only mining company to have achieved this milestone.

Newmont was the first gold company named to the index in 2007, and has been included on the DJSI North America Index since 2006.

“Our company’s commitment to Newmont’s Sustainability and Responsibility values has contributed significantly to this recognition from the DJSI-World. We thank our employees and business partners for staying true to our purpose of creating value and improving lives through sustainable and responsible mining.” said Alwyn Pretorius, Newmont’s Regional Senior Vice President, Africa Operations.

He added: “These recognitions are further proof of our strong contribution to our host communities and Ghana.”

In addition to being ranked the overall industry leader in the mining sector, Newmont received the highest score (100th percentile) in a number of areas including Occupational Health and Safety, Risk and Crisis Management; Climate Strategy; Environmental Policy and Management Systems; Water-related Risks; Asset Closure Management; and Corporate Citizenship and Philanthropy.

The DJSI-World, one of the most highly regarded sustainability indices includes 316 global companies identified as leaders in the areas of sustainable economic, environmental and social performance.

Since it commenced operations in Ghana, Newmont has instituted a number of comprehensive social investment programmes in education, healthcare, infrastructure, human resource development, local content support and other sustainability initiatives at its Akyem and Ahafo operational areas.

Newmont Ghana’s strong performance in these areas contributed to Newmont’s second time recognition as the world’s leader in Dow Jones Sustainability World Index.

This year, Newmont Ghana’s Akyem mine was ranked the first among Ghana’s 100 most prestigious companies (Ghana Club 100) while its Ahafo mine was ranked 8th.

The Akyem Mine was also adjudged the Leader in the Petroleum and Mining Sector Rankings. Both mines have also been ISO14001 certified and indicate their adherence to the highest standards in environmental practice.

More information on Newmont Ghana’s safety, economic, environmental and social performance can be found in Newmont’s annual sustainability report, Beyond the Mine.
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Amid threats, security efforts on the rise at African mining sites

Canadian mining firms, lured to West Africa by low taxes and friendly governments, must now grapple with an emerging new risk: the rising threat of attack by Islamist radicals in the region.

Canadian gold miners have been among the biggest investors in many West African nations in recent years. But after a wave of terrorist assaults on hotels and tourist sites over the past year, along with a report of a rocket attack on a French uranium mine, West Africa is becoming a more dangerous place for foreign investors.

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In a sign of the new anxieties, Burkina Faso announced this month that it will deploy more than 3,600 soldiers and police to protect the nation’s 18 mining sites from the escalating threat of attack by Islamist extremists who have already struck at targets in the country.

Gunmen from an Islamist radical group killed 30 people, including six Canadians, in an attack on a hotel and restaurant in Burkina Faso’s capital in January.

Iamgold Corp. of Toronto is one of Burkina Faso’s biggest employers, operating a modern gold mine at Essakane in the country’s northeast, near the borders of Mali and Niger. The company’s officials, replying to questions about the new military deployment, said they have a policy of refusing to comment on security matters.

In the past, Canadian mining companies have pointed out that the terrorist attacks and other violent conflicts in Africa are usually in the capital cities, far from their remote mining sites. But this may be changing.

In late May, an Islamist radical group said it had fired Grad rockets at a uranium mining site in the Agadez region of Niger. The site belongs to the French uranium mining company Areva, although the company did not confirm the attack.

A notorious radical militia, al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), claimed responsibility for the Areva attack and warned that all Western businesses were “legitimate targets.” Just two months earlier, the same group claimed responsibility for a Grad rocket attack on a gas facility in Algeria.

In a recent report on Burkina Faso, the International Monetary Fund said there are concerns about the security threat in “rural and border areas” in the country. “Mining companies in particular note that they have had to step up security measures as they cannot fully rely on the police or army,” the IMF said in the June report.

Burkina Faso’s foreign minister, Alpha Barry, in an interview after the terrorist attack in January, pledged that his government would strengthen the protection of Canadian mining companies. He pleaded with Canadian miners to keep their investments in the country. “These are companies that enable Burkina Faso to live,” he said. “Our economy depends on it.”

Islamist radicals could attack Western mining companies for kidnapping operations or for strategic reasons, analysts say. “Such institutions remain at a credible threat of being targeted, given the dynamic nature of terrorism in the Sahel and Maghreb regions,” said Ryan Cummings, director of Signal Risk, an Africa-focused risk analysis consultancy.

“Mining sites in countries located within AQIM’s operational theatre, namely Mali and all countries sharing a border with the country, are susceptible to an attack,” he said.

Mining companies in West Africa have already been targeted for kidnapping operations to raise revenue from ransom, Mr. Cummings noted. But groups such as AQIM could be targeting mining companies because any economic decline in West African countries would make it easier to radicalize their populations, he said.
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“Uberisation” of mining sector needed to ride out perfect storm

It is critical that mining houses embrace the technological revolution sweeping the world if they are to overcome the barrage of challenges they are facing, which include lower commodity prices, rising labour costs and increased regulatory pressures.

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The storm in the mining sector has been brewing for some time. When commodity prices were booming, most mining houses put off plans to innovate and streamline, enjoying the blue sky opportunities and reaping the rewards of the market peak. Then, when the clouds gathered and prices plunged, innovation was again put on the back burner as keeping the lights on – let alone making a profit – became the number one priority.

The clouds are now growing increasingly darker as government regulations add pressure on mining houses to not only make profit but to ensure job sustainability in the sector and, at a greater level, drive transformation.

But it’s not all doom and gloom, just yet. The current climate highlights that the more constraints the environment presents, the more mining houses need to optimise the remaining variables – and technology is the key to achieving this.

Disrupting the mining industry

We desperately need to see an “Uberisation” of the mining sector in South Africa. This involves a collective drive toward the combination of technological advancements and big data that made ride-sharing company, Uber, so successful and revolutionary.

While Uber and the mining sector may not be immediately comparable in our national conscious yet, there is nothing stopping the latter from taking inspiration from how the former disrupted business as usual in its industry.

Uber’s software changed the way people across the world move, with the power to catch a taxi almost anywhere, at any time and at the touch of a screen. Most importantly, though, it is powered by big data. In just one example, the company’s “surge pricing” approach uses predictive modelling of all drivers and customers at any time to adjust its price structures to meet supply and demand constraints.

In the same way, big data has also made it possible for Uber to efficiently match drivers and clients, reducing waiting time and increasing car utilisation, real-time information can empower decision makers at mines.

Technological revolution

The mining sector needs the same technological revolution and it needs it urgently. We’ve already seen advancements to mining equipment in the form of automated machines that test the levels of harmful gasses following a blast and in wearables that monitor the vital statistics of mine employees.

While these types of innovation are crucial, mines need to take the next step and monitor as many variables as possible in order to be able to accurately predict what is coming. For example, a system of monitors across a mine’s fleet would provide enough data for predictive modelling that would indicate when each machine or vehicle would need maintenance, providing enough planning time, avoiding downtimes and ensuring continuous operations.

Luddite fallacy

However, this is not only about the improvement of mining processes. The technological revolution in mining is also about the improving the level of skills. Will there be resistance to technology in the mining sector due to the perception that it will result in job losses? Yes. For centuries there has been a fear that innovation equals job cuts, yet history has taught us time and time again that, in fact, this is not the case. The Luddite fallacy, the economic observation that new technology does not destroy jobs but rather changes the nature of work for the better, comes to mind.

We have already seen how advanced sensors provide live information and rather than replacing operators, this technology is actually training and empowering them to make better decisions.

To overcome the mindset that technology will endanger jobs, there needs to be a shift in this perception by government, mining houses, labour and the public in general through the use of data and studies to show that technology can actually lead to more jobs, greater skills transfer and more importantly upskilling of people with portable skills.

It is technology, not subsidies, that will add value to the mining sector in South Africa. This industry needs to compete globally and subsidies are not a sustainable method to encourage healthy competition. An increase in productivity is what can make a real difference to boosting our activities in the global market, but we need the technology in order to be ready to do so.

The time for the revolution is now. What the mining sector needs is enlightened companies that recognise that technology and innovation are the best ways of surviving the stormy situation they are facing, which will only entrench their positions as market leaders when the commodity cycle turns.

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Source: bizcommunity


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World Bank study highlights artisinal mining challenges in Central Africa

Women have been known to break boundaries which have persisted to box them into certain classifications of occupations, mining has also been one of those jobs.

The Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), like many other African countries is rich with mining minerals including the ASM sector, however, Congolese women in Kivu, east of DRC, are deprived of a share in this wealth, says the World Bank.

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The group’s report, ‘Resources and resourcefulness. Gender, conflict, and artisanal mining communities in Eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo’ compiled between 2012 and 2014, highlights the issues associated with the Artisanal and small-scale mining (ASM) sector in the Central African country.

According to the analysis, due to the mid-1990’s post wars, the ASM sector became the primary source of economy for inhabitants of the Kivu region, but the research found that gender discrimination, including sexual abuse is common in the region’s mining towns.

The majority of people directly involved in the extraction of minerals at mining sites were described as extremely poor and vulnerable with women subjected to sexual and economic predation.

Economic footprint – ASM sector

Two of the three intended mine sites were visited in Kalehe and Walungu, focus group discussions and key informant interviews including an analysis of the Congolese legal framework revealed the realities surrounding the ASM sector in the Kivu region.  While mining jobs are supposed to be open to everyone, corruption is reported to be high in this sector. Acquiring a job for many women meant transactional sex was often their only means to gain an economic foothold in mining industry.

The analysis found that among other pressing issues such as corruption, there was also a lack of education on rights and limited availability of social forms of organisation for women and others. A significant number of both men and women were found to be not aware that there was a mining code in DRC with provisions to protect their right to work.

In light of this the following are the highlights of the report’s suggestions to better DRC’s ASM sector:

  • Assist women access jobs other than sex work
  • Address corruption and fraud in the mining sector resulting from increasing efforts at government regulation of this industry
  • Provide technical assistance in the modernisation of ASM
  • Engage in education around mining code and rights of those in mining towns
  • Strengthen the capacity of local associations to advocate for their own rights

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Along South Africa’s East Coast, Locals Take On Mining Industry

A 14-mile stretch of sand dunes along South Africa’s breathtaking east coast is the battleground between big mining interests and the local community. The dunes hide a wealth of titanium.

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

Mining is a mainstay of South Africa’s economy. It’s also been a curse, claiming lives and spoiling the environment. An Australian mining company has been trying to get a license to dig an open pit mine on the country’s remote east coast. The locals, or the Amadiba people, have been fighting against it for a decade. Sarah Birnbaum has the story of a traditional community willing to die to keep its land.

UNIDENTIFIED CROWD: (Singing in foreign language).

SARAH BIRNBAUM, BYLINE: Bazooka Radebe campaigned fiercely to stop the Australian mining company MRC from mining on his people’s land. In March, he was gunned down by men dressed as police officers. Thousands of people from across the country have made their way over dirt roads to the funeral on Radebe’s homestead. Pallbearers weave through the crowd carrying his casket while members of his church sing funeral dirges in Xhosa.

Nonhle Mbthuma was in the anti-mining activist group, the Amadiba Crisis Committee, with Radebe. She looks tired and shaken. She says Radebe called her an hour before he died to tell her that his name was on top of a hit list and she was number two.

NONHLE MBTHUMA: When I speak to him he said, hey, guys, our struggle is bigger than we thought. Now, Nonhle, you need to watch your back.

BIRNBAUM: Violence against anti-mining activists in the Amadiba area has been ramping up. In 2003, headman Mandoda Ndovela was murdered after speaking out against the mine. In December, community members who opposed the mine were beaten with clubs and bush knives. Mbthuma says she and her community will die to protect the land.

MBTHUMA: It’s our mother Earth to us. It’s holding us. If we let the land go, that means we lose the identity, the roots, because where you don’t have a land, you don’t even know who you are.

BIRNBAUM: At stake is 14 miles of sand dunes on what’s called the wild coast, a stunningly beautiful stretch along South Africa’s Eastern Cape.

(SOUNDBITE OF RUSHING WATER)

BIRNBAUM: The mining company MRC says underneath the sand is one of the world’s largest deposits of titanium. The company has applied for mining rights from the government. The project will require digging a huge pit mine and building infrastructure like roads, pipelines, storage facilities and electricity pylons up and down this unspoiled area.

Now, there’s the ocean, sand dunes and grassy hills with clusters of huts here and there. There are a few paved roads, no running water, no electricity. It’s the tribal land of about 300 or so families. They say the mining development threatens to destroy their way of life and undermine their livelihood, which revolves around subsistence farming. Nonhle Mbthuma.

MBTHUMA: We use land for everything – for farming, livestock, buried people. Everything.

BIRNBAUM: She says the Amadiba have been defending this land against outside development for generations. In the 1960s, when the apartheid government tried to group the scattered homesteads here into villages, fence off the grazing land and arable plots and impose quotas on livestock, the community revolted in what’s known in history books as the Pondo revolt. Mbthuma sees her fight against mining as a continuation of that anti-apartheid struggle.

MBTHUMA: My own grandfather, he was involved during the Pondo revolt. Now, I’m still following the steps of my forefathers.

BIRNBAUM: The CEO of the mining company, Mark Caruso, has refused NPR’s requests for interviews, but he briefly appeared of South Africa’s Talk Radio 702. He says the company is not involved at all in intimidation of activists or in the murder of Bazooka Radebe.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

MARK CARUSO: The company has continued to support non-confrontation. It has continued to act within the law and with restraint in relation to inciting any further violence.

BIRNBAUM: Caruso insists the majority of the community wants the mining because it will deliver over 600 jobs. The application for mineral rights is still pending, and the Department of Mineral Resources says it’s not prepared to take a position yet. But protesters like Mbthuma say they’ll keep fighting no matter what. For NPR News, I’m Sarah Birnbaum in Mdtaya, Eastern Cape, South Africa.

Source: npr


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Zuma’s son says he’ll quit Gupta mining firm in South Africa

South African President Jacob Zuma’s son said on Friday he would sell his investments in a mining firm owned by friends of his father amid speculation that the wealthy family is wielding undue political influence.

Duduzane Zuma’s announcement came days after First National Bank, a unit of FirstRand, joined three other South African companies in quitting as bankers and auditors of companies owned by the Indian-born Gupta family.

In a memo to staff seen by Reuters, Oakbay Investments – a holding company for Gupta businesses in South Africa – said it had approached government departments including Zuma’s office to express “deep disappointment” over decisions by banks to close its accounts.

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The Presidency and Oakbay did not immediately respond to requests for comment on the content of the memo.

Citing “aspersions” against his own family, Duduzane said he would also step down as a director of Shiva Uranium, the main subsidiary of Oakbay Resources, which houses the Gupta family’s mining assets.

“I have decided to relinquish all positions that I hold at Oakbay companies and am exiting investments to preserve the jobs of Oakbay’s thousands of employees and to de-politicise my participation in business,” he said.

The mine is 26 percent-owned by Islandsite 255, a company of which Duduzane is also a director. It employs 648 people, the family said last month.

Last month deputy finance minister Mcebisi Jonas said the Guptas offered him the position of finance minister shortly before Zuma sacked then finance minister Nhlanhla Nene, in December, a move that sent markets into a tail-spin.

Zuma has denied suggestions the Guptas wield undue political power. The Guptas have also dismissed such reports, saying they are pawns in a political plot to get Zuma out of office.

Oakbay Resources said in a statement that chairman Atul Gupta and chief executive Varun Gupta had resigned with immediate effect. “This decision follows a sustained political attack on the company,” it said in a statement.

The firm said it had created 3,500 jobs in South Africa’s mining sector.

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“SMOKE AND MIRRORS”

Oakbay Resources’ statement did not say if the resigning members of the Gupta family would reduce their shareholdings in the company.

South Africa’s elite police investigating unit, the Hawks, said last month it had launched a corruption probe into Duduzane and the Gupta family.

South Africa’s main opposition party, the Democratic Alliance (DA), dismissed the resignations of Duduzane and the Guptas as an “exercise in smoke and mirrors” to protect their assets and profits.

Citing association risk, the local unit of global auditing firm KPMG cut ties with Oakbay Resources last month. Other companies that have severed links are investment bank Sasfin and lender Barclays Africa.

Oakbay Resources said it was being serviced by an Asian bank that did not want to be named.

The three Gupta brothers moved to South Africa from India at the end of apartheid in the early 1990s and went on to build a business empire that stretches from technology to the media to mining.

Zuma survived an impeachment motion by the opposition on Tuesday thanks to his African National Congress party’s majority in parliament.

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Source: reuters


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African Potash to continue exploration in Congo

JOHANNESBURG (miningweekly.com) – Although it has, over the past year, worked to become a vertically integrated fertiliser business with an initial focus on trading and distribution, Aim-listed African Potash retains its interest in the exploration side of the fertiliser industry. Through its 70% interest in La Société des Potasses et des Mines, it held the right to conduct exploration activities for potash salts over the 702.5 km2 Lac Dinga project area in the highly prospective Kouilou region of the Republic of Congo. Although the initial three-year licence period had expired in December 2015 a renewal application had been filed and approval was expected to be granted in the coming months. While the project was still at an early stage of exploration, work conducted to date had returned encouraging results regarding the potential of the project area hosting significant potash deposits, with mineralisation characteristic of similar commercial deposits in the Congolese coastal basin.

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African Potash, meanwhile, said its transition into a revenue generative business with a captive, domestic and growing market for its product had been implemented after taking heed of investors’ attitudes towards the traditional, and often time-consuming model of resource companies, with initial exploration followed by lengthy development phases, construction and eventually production, with numerous equity raisings and dilution underpinning these growth and development stages.

“To mitigate the downside risk associated with resource development and to provide our shareholders with near-term value in the form of revenue, African Potash adopted a new approach to building a vertically integrated fertiliser business, focussing initially on trading and distribution,” said executive chairperson Chris Cleverly said on Tuesday.

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African Potash had signed a landmark trading agreement with the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (Comesa) to supply and deliver fertilisers to offtakers identified and introduced by Comesa.  African Potash added that it continued to implement its strategy to deliver near-term value through development of a vertical platform for the mining, production and distribution of fertiliser. “The size and scope of the developing agricultural sector in Africa is an area of overwhelming potential – forecasts suggest that the population of Africa will double to 2.4-billion between now and 2050,” said Cleverly.

He added that fertiliser contributed to 40% to 60% of global food supply.

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Source: engineeringnews


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Arcelormittal South Africa appoints a new CEO

Arcelormittal South Africa Limited’s Board of Directors have approved the appointment of Wim de Klerk as Chief Executive Officer and Executive Director of the Board with effect from 1 September 2016.

De Klerk holds a Bachelors of Accountancy degree (Honours) from the University of Pretoria, an Executive Management Diploma from Darden as well as a Strategic Marketing Diploma from Harvard. He is a qualified Chartered Accountant (South Africa).

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His current position is that of Finance Director and Executive Director of Exxaro Resources Limited, a position he held since 2008.
He has over 30 years working experience in the audit, tax, steel, titanium (TiO2) and mining industries, having spent the last 15 years in various executive positions at both Kumba Resources and Exxaro Resources. Prior to this Wim worked at Iscor where he managed Iscor Quarries and the Grootegeluk mine.  He became a member of the executive team as Group General Manager: Strategy and Continuous Improvement in 1999.
De Klerk is well qualified and has the necessary experience and understanding of the steel industry to fulfill the role of Chief Executive Officer at ArcelorMittal South Africa Limited effectively.
The Board congratulated de Klerk on his appointment and looks forward to his contribution.
ArcelorMittal South Africa is a JSE listed multinational steel manufacturing corporation company with operations in South Africa.

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Source: africanmining


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Japanese firm offers expertise to Zimbabwe

Japan Oil, Gas and Metals National Corporation (Jogmec) will offer more of its technologies and experiences to Zimbabwe, in a move aimed at attracting investment from Japanese mining companies.

Jogmec works as an advisor for Japanese mining companies, with a view to secure their safe and stable activities in mining sectors outside Japan.

Speaking at meeting on sustainable development of mineral resources for the mining sector in Zimbabwe held yesterday in Harare, Japanese Ambassador to Zimbabwe, Yoshi Hiraishi said the technical support would contribute to sustainable exploitation of minerals in Zimbabwe.

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“I firmly believe that the Japanese accumulated experiences and vast technical know-how in mining can greatly contribute to the sustainable and environmentally friendly exploitation of Zimbabwe,” he said.

“The active involvement of Jogmec in mining sector will hopefully, attract Japanese companies’ attention, which may lead to investment in Zimbabwe’s mining sector by Japanese mining companies in the future.”

Japan depends on foreign sources for many minerals essential to its modern industry like iron ore, coke, copper and bauxite.
Jogmec currently has five projects running in the country under its technical corporation programme that involves a transfer of researching technologies to government on sustainable exploitation of minerals.

This was made possible by a memorandum of understanding agreement signed in September 2015. The agreement allowed the transfer of the geographic information systems (satellite image analysis) techniques and remote sensing know-how to Zimbabwean geologists.

A director in the Mines and Mining Development ministry, John Makandwa, said Zimbabwe was yet to use modern technology.
“Zimbabwe is under explored and yet to experience application of modern exploration technologies. Also, considering its highly prospective geology, the country has huge investment opportunities in the exploration and mine development,” he said.
“Government is reviving exploration through the Mining Promotion Corporation to augment private sector efforts.”

For any Japanese mining company wishing to invest in Zimbabwe, Jogmec will get 25% tax rates and royalties on gold worth 5%, diamonds 15%, base metals 2% and coal 1%.

The country’s low exploration is due to the negative perception of investing in Zimbabwe, due to government policies, which scare investors.

The mining sector is capital intensive and local banks are not offering long term capital, leaving offshore funding as the only available option. The situation has been compounded by the low commodity prices on the world market threatening the viability of resources-driven economies.

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Eskom to select coal supplier for Arnot station by March

JOHANNESBURG (miningweekly.com) – Energy utility Eskom is in the throes of reviewing various requests for proposals submitted as part of its hunt for a new coal supplier for the Arnot power station, in Mpumalanga, after the nonrenewal of its coal supply agreement with historical coal partner Exxaro. Eskom’s coal agreement with Exxaro was left to lapse at the end of December, after the parastatal cited the miner’s increasing inability to service its four-million-ton-a-year supply agreement, stating it was only able to provide the 2 100 MW power station with around one-million tons a year of coal – around 25% of its total requirement. Print Send to Friend 0 0 The remaining coal had been sourced from several other coal suppliers, Eskom spokesperson Kulu Phasiwe told Mining Weekly Online on Friday.  He expected a decision on the new coal supplier to be made by the end of March, adding that it was possible that several vendors would be selected, should a diversified supplier base prove more economical.

“If more than one supplier is able to give us value for money, we will select several to fulfil Arnot’s coal needs. “While Exxaro was initially Arnot’s only coal supplier, its volumes slowly declined, while the cost of its coal increased. By the end of last year, Exxaro was charging around R900/t of coal, while the average of the other suppliers – which serviced around 80% of the station’s coal requirements – was R400/t,” he remarked. Phasiwe assured Mining Weekly Online that operations at the Arnot power station remained unaffected by the cessation of the Exxaro supply agreement, as it had been able to source adequate volumes of coal from its various suppliers.

Source: engineeringnews


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