Wednesday, April twenty three, 2008
From Creamer Media in Johannesburg, I'm Shannon O'Donnell
Making headlines today:
Business Unity South Africa, or BUSA, has written to the National Energy Regulator of South Africa calling for it to abandon its current accelerated review of Eskom's request for a 60% tariff increase, so as to give stakeholders sufficient time to compile comprehensive responses.
Speaking at a media briefing in Sandton on Tuesday, CEO Jerry Vilakazi indicated that it was also unhappy with the level of information it had received from Eskom as to why it required such a significant increase only months after requesting a far more modest rise.
Vilakazi thus appealed for greater transparency from the utility, as well as from government, which has come out in support for the power utility's application.
Busa also called for stronger leadership from the Southern African Development Community, or SADC, to ensure the speedy release of the much-delayed Zimbabwe election results.
Vilakazi said that the political situation in Zimbabwe was not only damaging the Zimbabwean economy, but that it also had the potential to negatively effect the South African economy, as well as undermine the necessary regional integration of SADC.
Diversified mining giant, BHP Billiton, which has launched a hostile takeover for smaller rival Rio Tinto, on Wednesday reported a 22% rise in third quarter iron-ore production, to a record 28-million tons.
The higher iron-ore output, which was likely to strengthen its one hundred and forty seven billion dollar bid for Rio Tinto, came on the back of its Western Australia iron-ore operations achieving record quarterly production and shipments in a "seasonally challenging" quarter.
BHP Billiton also reported record quarterly production of manganese ore, despite restrictions on power consumption in South Africa.
A portfolio manager at financial institution Investec said on Tuesday that the platinum price was expected to close this year at levels above two thousand four hundred dollars an ounce, in an "enormously tight" market.
Investec's forecasts were that there would be a supply deficit of 400 000 ounces of the white metal this year, but other market watchers were calling for a deficit of as much as 600 000 ounces.
This came as producers in South Africa wrestled with the power supply quandary, safety setbacks and skills shortages.
Also making headlines:
Oil steadies above 118 dollars with a focus on supply disruptions
Duferco unit to buy Highveld's vanadium assets for 160 million dollars
East Africa gets 1,5 billion dollars for infrastructure
Lonmin second quarter platinum sales are up, again cutting full-year target
Teck Cominco expects record copper and coal profits in the coming year
And, Eastplats secure long-lead items for South African platinum mine
In political news:
Africa shows impatience on Zimbabwe crisis
Norway Prime Minister sees aid for Zimbabwe if vote results are settled
Pro-Tibetans protest as Olympic torch lands in Australia
And, Kofi Annan warns of 'hunger disasters'
That's a round up of news making headlines today. For more on these and other stories, visit engineeringnews.co.za, miningweekly.com and polity.org.za