Perlman: South Africa's first black-controlled gold-mining company will be listing on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE) in December. Tell us more about that.
Creamer: Pamodzi Gold, part of the Pamodzi group, which is already in food, technology and financial services, is now also significant in resources. It will be the first black-owned gold company - black-empowerment no longer good enough and black-controlled and black-ownership the in thing. It is not just a nice to have, as Pamodzi explained, it is an integral part of strategy, because, by being black-controlled and black-owned, Pamodzi can confer empowerment on others, and there are a lot of other stranded assets around, companies needing further empowerment, which means it is a growth vehicle. It will go on to the main board of the stock exchange in the gold sector and will be listed on December 11 and it will be debt free as it goes on. It is already producing 200 000 oz and in the 12 months hence, Pamodzi believes it will be doubling that to 400 000 oz a year. The big opportunity around that this black-owned company can then confer empowerment on others and then gain new assets, both from stranded assets and also from the majors, who have non-core assets, and, if they sell them to a black-owned company, the majors can score points in terms of the Mining Charter.
Perlman: Martin, we haven't talked about the arms industry for a while, but I believe you've got some news.
Creamer: There has been a breakthrough in anti-missile technology. As we know, a foot soldier with a portable rocket launcher can bring down an aircraft with heat-seeking missiles that they launch from surface. This has been counteracted for some time now by aircraft that fire back flares and this way misdirect oncoming missiles that are being shot at them from the ground. This has been successful for some time, but, the new launchers now also have an infrared capability, which means that they don't only seek the heat, but they also seek the shape of the aircraft. So now both heat and shape have to be counteracted and this is what the South African researchers have now successfully been able to do with the use of lasers and jamming software, which is quite complex. The system first detects and tracks the incoming missile, locks a laser on to it, and then fires a laser pulse, with jamming codes dazzling the missile, which is called 'software kill'. This steers the missile away from the aircraft, as a successful demonstration has shown using a South African Air Force Oryx helicoper. This has resulted in South Africa being invited to take part in further exercises with the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation.
Perlman: Not such good news to finish off with.
Creamer: Yes, no-one will be held liable for the Injaka bridge collapse. We can throw our minds back to July 6, 1998: the 300 m Injaka bridge in Mpumalanga was in the process of construction and, in mid-construction, it collapsed. It killed 14 people, it injured 19 others and now, eight years and four months later, the office of the senior public prosecutor in Tshwane has decided that no-one will be held liable for the collapse of the Injaka bridge, on the grounds that its collapse “was not brought about by any act or omission involving or amounting to an offence on the part of any person”. This follows the Department of Labour recommending in 2002 that both the companies and individuals be prosecuted. This is not going to happen now so it could be the end of the road for the Injaka bridge case, although the Engineering Council of South Africa (Ecsa), which is responsible for upholding engineering standards, may still continue with its own case, but that would involve individuals alone and not companies.
Perlman: 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.