6th October 2008
Monday, October 6, 2008.
From Creamer Media in Johannesburg, I'm Shannon O'Donnell.
Making headlines today:
Sasol CEO Pat Davies expressed "profound regret" at the weekend that its European paraffin wax subsidiary, Sasol Wax GmbH, had violated European Union competition law. But, he said the group was robust enough to withstand the R3,8-billion fine and still continue with its ambitious growth pipeline.
Speaking to the South African media for the first time since the group was fined, Davies said it had made immediate provision for the fine. But he also provided a strong indication that the group was likely to appeal the ruling.
Nevertheless, based on current information, the appeal would probably focus primarily on seeking a reduction in the penalty. This is based on the fact that Sasol had not only cooperated fully with the European Commission's probe, but also given that it had unwittingly inherited the anticompetitive behaviour from the previous owner of the business. Davies stressed that none of the individuals implicated in the cartel currently worked for the 31 000-employee group.
BHP Billiton said on Friday that power shortages in South Africa had caused a decline of 8,2% total production at its three aluminium smelters.
The three smelters, two in South Africa and one in Mozambique, have a combined capacity of some 1,43-million tons, or about 3,7% of world output.
Power shortages in Africa's strongest economy have this year hit key mining, smelter and manufacturing sectors.
However, chairperson of BHP's southern Africa region Vincent Maphai said that it would be "very difficult" to agree to a proposal from Eskom to buy back power from energy-intensive users such as smelters as Eskom sought to shore up an under pressure national power grid.
Schneider Electric president and CEO Jean-Pascal Tricoire said on Friday that South Africa's mines could cut power consumption by more than the Eskom-mandated 10%.
He told Mining Weekly Online that Schneider was able to buffer critical equipment during power outages as well as shrink carbon footprints.
He said that making energy more efficient and "green" was central to the company's offering.
It had developed a system that "buffered" electricity supply to the "most sensitive and critical applications" during outages on national electricity grids and was able to offer mines "total reliability" in a world where energy was scarce and could "bridge" energy-short national electricity grids.
Also making headlines:
Sasol may take action against previous wax-business owners
The World Bank's 'green' energy funding is up 87%
Cement production starts at PPC's Batsweledi expansion project
DRDGold raises its stake in the Elsburg joint venture to 65%
Petmin sells Springlake colliery to Shanduka for R145-million
And, Kumba Iron Ore doubles its iron-ore benchmark export price.
In political news:
Guinea marks 50 years of independence as "poor but free"
Kenya accuses the West of "colonial" meddling
The former South African defence minister attacks a divided ANC
And, Israel warns a Hezbollah war would invite destruction
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
Edited by: Shannon de Ryhove