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Aug 22, 2008

On-The-Air (22/08/2008)

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Safm 22 August 2008
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Every Friday morning, SAfm’s AMLive’s radio anchor Tsepiso Makwetla speaks to Martin Creamer, publishing editor of Engineering News and Mining Weekly. Reported here is this Friday’s At the Coalface transcript:

Makwetla: The doyen of South African mining Brian Gilbertson has returned with big investment plans for the thriving coloured gemstone business. I am intrigued already.

Creamer: Brian Gilbertson, the man who created the biggest gold mining company in the world, BHP Billiton, is back with Pallinghurst. He has got his own skin in the game now and he is putting this business through the Johannesburg Stock Exchange.

One of the pillars of that is gemstones and he is saying that these gemstones – emeralds, sapphires and rubies – are at the stage that diamonds were 100 years ago and that the markets are booming in London and Paris and all the jewellery centres.

The actual mining side of it is very fragmented and under-capitalised and Gilbertson is moving in to change that, just as De Beers did 100 years ago. So, he has already got an emerald operation in Zambia, which he is transforming already with a bigger output, and his second pillar is Fabergé, which is the great brand name that was made famous in Russia.

Gilbertson has now got that Fabergé licence, which he bought from Unilever, and there will be a synergy between these gemstones and Fabergé. Of course, they are two separate pillars and will be operated separately, but the finest of the coloured gemstones will be branded with the Fabergé label.

Makwetla: Billions upon billions of rand going into coal mining to meet South Africa’s huge future energy needs.

Creamer: Yes that’s right. We find that if you add up the amounts being invested now in energy coal mining and expansion of coal mining, it is something in the region of R40-billion over the next ten years. We have Anglo Coal coming ahead with four new mines, the biggest of them Zondagsfontein coming through.

BHP Billition with R12-billion being invested in two new operations, the one is the Douglas Middelburg Optimisation project and the other the Klipspruit project. We also have the biggest supplier to Eskom, the black-owned Exxaro, listed on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange.

Their board has just approved a R9-billion additional investment into expanding the operation into Limpopo. The Grootegeluk coal plant that they have in Limpopo is already the biggest in the world, they are now going to double that up and also expand the mine.

We have Xstrata and African Rainbow Minerals with their R3-billion investment in Goedgevonden, which is due to produce next year. Then many medium-sized and smaller energy coal mine mining activities coming through, all on the back of a very strongly rising coal price.

The local price is also better than it was going into Eskom, but then the export prices are up in the high clouds of sometimes up to $150 per ton.

Makwetla: Johannesburg all set to host a record number of visitors for Africa’s biggest mining exhibition.

Creamer: That is the Electra Mining Africa coming up again. There will be about 35 000 people coming through, which is a record number they are expecting. The exhibitors themselves have a record number of 700 exhibitors.

They have taken up every single spare inch of space at the expo centre at Nasrec, which is 34 000 m2 of space. This is the second biggest mining exhibition in the world and it will take place from September 8 to September 12.

Makwetla: 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
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