Every Friday morning, SAfm’s AMLive’s radio anchor Sakina Kamwendo speaks to Martin Creamer, publishing editor of Engineering News and Mining Weekly. Reported here is this Friday’s At the Coalface transcript:
Kamwendo: The Chamber of Mines this week decided finally to shed its abhorrent apartheid past and rebrand itself with a totally new beginning and new name.
Creamer: And a new president. The president of the Chamber of Mines (CoM) that came in this week turned 57 yesterday and he is Mxolisi Mgojo. I think we can expect quite a lot from Mxolisi. He is quite a forthright character and he is prepared to speak truth to power.
Under his watch they are going to dismantle the apartheid baggage that they are now totally disgusted with and ashamed of and that hold them back, and rebrand totally. Rebrand under a new name so that the CoM branding will disappear and they will come in with a more holistic name that reflects what is happening today. This chamber deals with much more than mining and it is also in a changing environment.
I know with the conversations I’ve had with Mxolisi, he has also looked around at these mines and seen the vast tracts of land around them and the water. He has often asked what can be done around those mines that will help the near-mine communities. He goes to the mines and sees that they are giving employment, but there are a lot of people living around there who are really inactive.
So, perhaps under his watch they may consider now doing something agriculturally and perhaps their name reflect natural resources to take in that. Perhaps they can also look at energising those areas, because we see Mxolisi heads a 6 000-employee group, which is Exxaro, listed on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange, with a market capital of about R40-billion and it is black-controlled.
He is also not only in coal and has experience in mineral sands, zinc and iron ore, but he is a modernised miner. He thinks far ahead. He has already got renewable energy and perhaps they can do more with renewable energy on these areas. They could even incorporate the oil and gas side, because we know in the Free State, look how the miners just had blinkers on when they drilled down for that gold. They drilled right passed the gasses, they didn’t worry about them.
Look at the IDC this week just investing big in those Free State gasses, because we can do something on the energy front. Of course, Mxolisi Mgojo of Exxaro, the new president of the CoM, he gets the baton from Mike Teke, KwaThema-born entrepreneur, who is now going to head Siriti, which is also majority black-controlled and wanting to take over a lot of the assets that Anglo had. It has ambitions to be as big as Anglo.
We see this new momentum building up and hopefully that will create a better South African economy, because we know that the mining linkages are incredible. We also know that they are taking on the Zambezi Protocol as a type of strategy. That Zambezi Protocol exits the backward-looking destructive-type mining of the past and goes for a win-win type solution with an Africa in mind, rather than just South Africa.
Kamwendo: The media won a victory this week by persuading the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) to make public the beneficiaries of its incentives programmes.
Creamer: It was astonishing. A person as wise as the DTI Minister Dr Rob Davies sort of refusing to tell the journalists this week to whom he had given 45 nonrepayable grants of taxpayers money. Can you imagine, this is free, gratis and for nothing money coming from taxpayers and we say to a person as wise as Dr Davies can we have the names and he says no.
That was astonishing. I think they went back to the office and they redecided, because yesterday they relented and released a statement saying, “following a request for information from a number of stakeholders, the DTI will with the effect from 2016/17 financial year release the list of all the beneficiaries across its incentive programmes”. A tleast they won’t be emulating the National Party (NP) government, because that is exactly wat the NP did, it would not say who it was giving nonrepayable grants to.
Kamwendo: A third South African diamond operation is in financial distress.
Creamer: The three subsidiaries of Rockwell Diamonds, which is listed in Canada and Johannesburg, were the target of a liquidation application – for three of its subsidiaries, which operate in the Northern Cape. Again, an indication of the financial distress that we are seeing in the diamond sector.
Last week we told you about Trans Hex, listed on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange, announcing that Bloeddrif in the Northern Cape would be closing. We know that the Lace Diamond Mine in the Free State is under receivership. It was listed in London so you have got to have these administrators involved in the business rescue plan that is under way.
Kamwendo: Thanks very much. Martin Creamer is publishing editor of Engineering News and Mining Weekly.