Apr 04, 2008
Engineering|Mecca|Africa|CoAL|Engineering News|Eskom|Exploration|Mining Weekly|Namibian Stock Exchange|Nuclear|Africa|Australia|China|Congo|Democratic Republic Of Congo|Namibia|South Africa|Mining|Diamonds|Ike Phaahla|Martin Creamer|Power|Sipho Nkosi|Engineering News|Mining Weekly
© Reuse this
Phaahla: New Chamber of Mines president Sipho Nkosi this week declared South Africa to be in the midst of a “national skills crisis” of alarming proportions.
Creamer: Yes, the new Chamber of Mines president Sipho Nkosi has said that we must put a very big spotlight on our skills and he has declared this a national crisis. Of course, Nkosi is also big, he is head of the biggest coal producing company in South Africa Exxaro. It is also the biggest black controlled company in South Africa and he says the problems are real.
People are emigrating. It has got so bad that a Canadian company even put a stall right outside the gate of Exxaro’s flagship coal mine, Grootegeluk, and was actually recruiting their staff in front of their very eyes. We have seen Sunday newspapers of people queuing up to go to Australian expos.
We have even seen a feature on emigration. This is hammering South Africa’s mining industry and also our whole economy. Nkosi is wanting to put a very big spotlight on it and he is wanting action, because he says the time for talk is over and there is a time now to start linking the dots that we haven’t been doing and coordinating.
We see that we can dip into our big talent pool and I’m calling it a talent pool because we have many people unemployed in South Africa. We have to turn that talent into skill and we need to see how it has been done in other countries. We saw how China could convert 80 000 in a very coordinated scheme into skilled people.
They brought in 3 000 professors from outside and they put these technical skills into people in six-week blocks and over a three year period they produced 80 000 skilled people. That is what we need to do in South Africa, because we have a mining boom, but we don’t have the skills.
Phaahla: Metals mined in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) in the spot light.
Creamer: We are talking about ‘blood metals’ here. We have known about ‘blood diamonds’, there is even a film on ‘blood diamonds’ and we have seen that the diamond industry has come in and stamped that out with the Kimberley Process.
Now we have a similar need in the Congo and the Germans are stepping in firmly to stop ‘blood metals’ and in particular ‘blood’ coltan. Coltan is the columbite-tantalite rare metal that we find in the chips of our cellphones and iPods. It can be the cause of death and destruction because of the patchwork of war zones that still exist in the northeast of the DRC.
The Germans have come in and they have said that they need to certify coltan in the same that they have certified diamonds, to ensure that people with ill intentions do not get their hands on this metal.
So, they moved in to the DRC this week and started doing their recce in order to ensure that we have ‘clean’ metal, particularly clean coltan, coming out of the DRC.
Phaahla: Namibia has a new status.
Creamer: We are talking about Namibia stamping itself as South Africa’s uranium Mecca. It now has five uranium companies listed on the Namibian Stock Exchange with a market capitalisation of nearly N$8-billion in this trillion dollar stock exchange. These are coming in at a fairly early stage.
A lot of them in an exploration stage, but it has given the people of Namibia an opportunity to buy in now at the right level, because we know that uranium has got an incredible future because of the nuclear power demand. We know that even South Africa is looking at many more nuclear power stations besides its Koeberg.
Eskom is talking about using ten times more uranium and right on our door step now we have got Namibia, which is stamping itself as the uranium Mecca. Very justifiably so we saw the Australians going in where South Africans were fast asleep and snapping up assets, particularly Paladin, which has secured the old Langer Heinrich mine for next to nothing and is now developing uranium there.
This week Bannerman of Australia become the fifth company to lists its company on the Namibian Stock Exchange as a uranium exploration play. In South Africa we have not had such good fortune and we have seen that AngloGold Ashanti, as a supplier of uranium, has had to declare a force majeure and we have seen Uranium One’s shares plummet after they had mining problems at the Dominion mine in Klerksdorp, but in Namibia, there is far more stability, and the country is positioning itself well on the uranium front.
Phaahla: Thanks very much. Martin Creamer is publishing editor of Engineering News and Mining Weekly, he’ll be back with us at the same time next week.
Edited by: Creamer Media Reporter© Reuse this Comment Guidelines
Updated 1 hour 33 minutes ago In an update to shareholders, financially distressed civil engineering group Protech Khuthele Holdings, this week, said it was still awaiting the appointment of a liquidator. This followed after business rescue practitioner Gavin Gainsford, earlier this month,...
Updated 1 hour 58 minutes ago The Steel and Engineering Industries Federation of Southern Africa (Seisfa) on Tuesday reluctantly accepted a Ministerial proposal on wage offers, but would not back down on the need for Section 37 of the Main Agreement of the Metal and Engineering Industries...
Updated 2 hours 25 minutes ago The Department of Science and Technology (DST) will have a budget of R6.47-billion for the financial year 2014/2015, it was reported on Tuesday. More than half of this (R3.5-billion), Science and Technology Minister Naledi Pandor noted in her budget speech to...
Recent Research Reports
Real Economy Year Book 2014 (PDF Report)
This edition drills down into the performance and outlook for a variety of sectors, including automotive, construction, electricity, transport, steel, water, coal, gold, iron-ore and platinum.
Real Economy Insight: Automotive 2014 (PDF Report)
This four-page brief covers key developments in the automotive industry over the past 12 months, including an overview of South Africa’s automotive market, trade figures, production and the policies influencing the sector.
Real Economy Insight: Construction 2014 (PDF Report)
This five-page brief covers key developments in the construction industry over the past 12 months. It provides an overview of the sector and includes details of employment in the sector, infrastructure and municipal spending, as well as insight into companies’...
Real Economy Insight: Electricity 2014 (PDF Report)
This five-page brief covers key developments in the electricity industry over the past 12 months, including details of State-owned power utility Eskom’s generation activities, funding and tariffs, independent power producers and prospects for the sector.
Real Economy Insight: Road and Rail 2014 (PDF Report)
This six-page brief covers key developments in the road and rail industries over the past 12 months, including details of South Africa’s road and rail network and prospects for both sectors.
Real Economy Insight: Steel 2014 (PDF Report)
This four-page brief covers key developments in the steel industry over the past 12 months. It provides an overview of the global and South African steel and stainless steel markets, South Africa’s major steel producers and events that have shaped these markets.
This Week's Magazine
Local aerospace company Denel Aerostructures (DAe), part of the State-owned Denel Group, has won a fourth contract to manufacture parts for the Airbus A400M military air transport and air-to-air refuelling aircraft. The new contract, which was won in an international...
Although CEO Mark McChlery and chief marketing officer Bob Skinstad likened themselves to children in a playground when taking on the task of “reengineering and repositioning” the Seartec brand, the “young, dynamic and enthusiastic guys” were like proud...
An increasing number of buyers, in both the new and used car markets, are opting for finance structures that lower their monthly repayments, says asset financing company WesBank. These include the use of large balloon payments (also known as residuals), as well as...
Tertiary education institutions can use search engine giant Google’s Chromebook to provide secure mobile end-point devices for students on which they can share documents, work collaboratively on documents and access education materials and applications being used...
Local ceiling and partition company Abbeycon has beaten global competition at the Saint-Gobain Gypsum International Trophy competition, which was held last month in Berlin, Germany.