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Photo of the Week

NEW ERA

21st January 2022 Chile's mining sector is preparing for what could be some significant changes that could include tighter environmental rules and higher taxes. Newly elected President Gabriel Boric (35) supports higher taxes on mining firms, while a committee will begin deliberations in earnest this year on how... 

NEW ERA: Chile's mining sector is preparing for what could be some significant changes that could include tighter environmental rules and higher taxes. Newly elected President Gabriel Boric (35) supports higher taxes on mining firms, while a committee will begin deliberations in earnest this year on how the environment and natural resources will figure in the country’s new constitution. The changes could be significant given that the Andean nation is the world's top producer of copper and the second largest producer of lithium. Both metals are seeing sharp price rises on soaring demand and a global rush to secure supply. Photograph: Bloomberg.

BOOSTING THE FIGHT

10th December 2021 While South Africa has not yet broadened booster shots beyond healthcare workers and certain categories of immunocompromised individuals, vaccine booster shots are likely to become an important part of the long-term fight against Covid-19. This is true not only for South Africa but elsewhere, as... 

Reuters Image

BOOSTER SHOT

3rd December 2021 As the fourth Covid wave approaches, Pfizer and BioNTech have applied to have their coronavirus vaccine approved by the South African Health Regulatory Products Authority for use as a booster. The vaccine is already the most widely used in South Africa and is set to become the first to be... 

BOOSTER SHOT

COAL LITIGATION

26th November 2021 Three civil society groups have taken the South African government to court over its plan to build 1 500 MW of new coal capacity in line with the Integrated Resource Plan of 2019. In September, lawyers for groundWork, the African Climate Alliance and the Vukani Environmental Justice Movement in... 

Three civil society groups have taken the South African government to court over its plan to build 1 500 MW of new coal capacity in line with the Integrated Resource Plan of 2019. In September, lawyers for groundWork, the African Climate Alliance and the Vukani Environmental Justice Movement in Action wrote to Mineral Resources and Energy Minister Gwede Mantashe and the National Energy Regulator of South Africa demanding that the plan be scrapped. After not receiving a response, litigation was launched this month on the basis that the plants would violate the constitutional right to an environment not harmful to health and wellbeing. Photograph: Reuters

PLATINUM DEAL

19th November 2021 Royal Bafokeng Holdings accepted an unsolicited offer this month from Northam Platinum for up to a third of Royal Bafokeng Platinum (RBPlat) in a R17-billion transaction. RBPlat’s mines – one of which, Styldrift, is pictured here – are on the western limb of the Bushveld Complex and their assets... 

PLATINUM DEAL: Royal Bafokeng Holdings accepted an unsolicited offer this month from Northam Platinum for up to a third of Royal Bafokeng Platinum (RBPlat) in a R17-billion transaction. RBPlat’s mines – one of which, Styldrift, is pictured here – are on the western limb of the Bushveld Complex and their assets have been described by Northam as “young, shallow and well capitalised”. The Northam deal led rival Implats, which had been seeking to acquire 100% of the issued ordinary shares of RBPlat, to withdraw a cautionary announcement of an impending transaction.

TRAGEDY TO TRIUMPH

12th November 2021 British naturalist Sir David Attenborough has emerged as the voice of conscience – and hope – as humanity hurtles towards a self-induced climate crisis, with existential consequences. Delivering an impassioned speech during the opening ceremony of COP26 in Glasgow, Scotland, on November 1, the... 

 Photograph: Jeff J Mitchell for Reuters

HEAT, DUST & POWER CUTS

5th November 2021 HEAT, DUST & POWER CUTS: As the late and great Johnny Clegg and Savuka sang in their song titled ‘In My African Dream’, which features on the ‘Heat, Dust & Dreams’ album: ‘Something stole the promise from the light of the dawn’. In the current context, that light has quite literally been stolen.... 

HEAT, DUST & POWER CUTS: As the late and great Johnny Clegg and Savuka sang in their song titled ‘In My African Dream’, which features on the ‘Heat, Dust & Dreams’ album: ‘Something stole the promise from the light of the dawn’. In the current context, that light has quite literally been stolen. After nearly 15 years, South Africa remains in a deep electricity crisis. Those responsible have mostly left both the utility and government, but that is little consolation. Sadly, heat, dust and power cuts look set to be an ongoing and painful feature of this summer period too. Photograph: Bloomberg

FRAGILE CLIMATE

29th October 2021 The failure of rich countries to honour their $100-billion-a-year climate-finance commitments is likely to be a key theme as world leaders converge on Glasgow, Scotland, for the COP26 climate talks. Developing countries, including South Africa, will want far stronger guarantees that money will be... 

Photo of trucks transporting coal to a South African power station

MARS SIMULATION

22nd October 2021 Earlier this month, the Austrian Space Forum set up a simulated Martian base together with the Israel Space Agency at Makhtesh Ramon, a 500-m deep, 40-km wide crater, in Israel’s Negev desert. During a three-week mission, six astronauts from Austria, Germany, the Netherlands, Israel, Portugal and... 

MARS SIMULATION: Earlier this month, the Austrian Space Forum set up a simulated Martian base together with the Israel Space Agency at Makhtesh Ramon, a 500-m deep, 40-km wide crater, in Israel’s Negev desert. During a three-week mission, six astronauts from Austria, Germany, the Netherlands, Israel, Portugal and Spain will remain in complete isolation in a unique structure meant to simulate a space station. The astronauts will undertake a variety of experiments that have been selected for the project, in which more than 200 scientists from 25 countries are involved. Photograph: Amir Cohen for Reuters

STRONG REBOUND

15th October 2021 The World Trade Organisation (WTO) has raised its projections for global trade growth in 2021 and 2022 to 10.8% and 4.7%, respectively, citing the resurgence of economic activity in the first half of the year. In March, the WTO projected that trade would increase by 8% in 2021 and 4% in 2022. The... 

Image of Wrold Trade Organisation

CLIMATE TARGETS

8th October 2021 Bloomberg reports that a coalition of financial firms overseeing a combined $29.3-trillion of assets, is calling on some of the world’s biggest corporate emitters to urgently set science-based emissions reduction targets that are compatible with 1.5° C of global warming. The companies targeted by... 

Image of a wind turbine with a coal mine and power station in the background.

GAS CRISIS

1st October 2021 Gas prices have soared in recent months as economies reopen from Covid-19 lockdowns and high demand for liquefied natural gas in Asia pushed down supplies to Europe. Energy companies in the UK have asked the government for support to help cover the cost of taking on customers from firms that have... 

Pictured here is the Bacton Gas Terminal, in Norfolk, which is said to be suited to emerge as a future hydrogen import hub as the UK simultaneously pursues a low-carbon energy transition.

FINAL ASSEMBLY

24th September 2021 China's first C919 narrow-body jet to be delivered to launch customer China Eastern Airlines is about to enter final assembly, China's aviation regulator said earlier this month, with delivery due before the end of the year. Reuters reports that the C919, being built by State-owned aircraft... 

Image of China’s first C919 narrow-body jet

SAFE & EFFECTIVE

17th September 2021 The evidence continues to mount in favour of the effectiveness of the vaccines being used in South Africa. While most people have received the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, which was the first to receive the full approval of the US Food and Drug Administration in August, recent news on the efficacy,... 

Photo of a Covid vaccine being administered

NO MASKING THE LOSSES

10th September 2021 Eskom chairperson Professor Malegapuru Makgoba, CEO Andre de Ruyter and CFO Calib Cassim were all masked up in line with Covid-19 health protocols when delivering the electricity utility’s results for the 2020/21 financial year. Despite some improvements, Eskom’s debt mountain was yet again... 

Photo of Eskom chairperson Professor Malegapuru Makgoba, CEO Andre de Ruyter and CFO Calib Cassim

SCARRING EFFECT

3rd September 2021 The National Treasury estimates that the economic damage from the July riots could shave off between 0.7 and 0.9 of a percentage point from this year's growth figure. “We are concerned about the potential scarring effect on employment and sentiment that may outlive the shock and impact potential... 

SCARRING EFFECT

REFORM MANDATE

27th August 2021 On August 16, Zambian President Edgar Lungu conceded defeat after a landslide election win by opposition leader Hakainde Hichilema, 59, pictured here casting his ballot in Lusaka on August 12. The 2021 election was Hichilema’s sixth attempt at the presidency since 2006. Markets reacted favourably... 

Image of Zambian President Edgar Lungu

ONGOING FALLOUT

20th August 2021 As South Africa continues to count the cost of deadly looting that destroyed lives, livelihoods, as well as public and commercial infrastructure, the world paused earlier this month to reflect on the ongoing fallout from the deadly Beirut port blast. The explosion, caused by unsafely stored... 

GREEN TRANSITION

13th August 2021 South Africa’s State-owned utility Eskom has, for some time, been working on a so-called Just Energy Transaction to help the company and the country navigate away from its coal dependence, while still supporting coal miners and communities that are vulnerable to such a transition. The utility has... 

Photo of an Eskom power station

GATEWAY ATTACKED

6th August 2021 A cyberattack rocked operations at container terminals operated by Transnet Port Terminals, causing fresh backlogs that had also developed during recent civil unrest and looting in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng. Transnet was forced to declare force majeure at its container terminals in Durban,... 

A photo of the Cape Town port

HIGH PERFORMANCE

30th July 2021 The Kyalami Grand Prix Circuit and International Convention Centre, in Gauteng, has secured an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) with a commendable B rating, where A represents the highest achievable rating and G the lowest. New regulations, gazetted in December 2020, require nonresidential... 

Aerial photo of the the Kyalami Grand Prix Circuit and International Convention Centre

ROAD TO RUIN

23rd July 2021 Protests that were initially sparked by opposition to the jailing of former President Jacob Zuma, but then morphed into a deadly looting spree by criminals and desperate opportunists alike, once again exposed South Africa’s socioeconomic fault lines. Without question, the restoration of law and... 

Image of burnt-out vehicles
Photo by Reuters
Protests that were initially sparked by opposition to the jailing of former President Jacob Zuma, but then morphed into a deadly looting spree by criminals and desperate opportunists alike, once again exposed South Africa’s socioeconomic fault lines. Without question, the restoration of law and order had to be the first priority, but the country won’t avoid the ‘road to ruin’ on display in this image without a well-supported strategy for reigniting growth and ensuring that the economic benefits are more evenly shared.

POWERING UP

16th July 2021 The eThekwini Municipality, in KwaZulu-Natal, is readying itself for the procurement of 400 MW of electricity, primarily in the form of renewable energy. Various other cities, including Cape Town and Johannesburg, are also planning to contract with independent power producers now that the... 

A photo of the city of Durban
Photo by Bloomberg
POWERING UP: The eThekwini Municipality, in KwaZulu-Natal, is readying itself for the procurement of 400 MW of electricity, primarily in the form of renewable energy. Various other cities, including Cape Town and Johannesburg, are also planning to contract with independent power producers now that the electricity regulations have been amended to allow municipalities “in good financial standing” to develop or procure their own power generation projects. Photograph: Bloomberg

MINTED MILESTONES

9th July 2021 To mark its centenary, celebrated virtually on June 30, the South African Reserve Bank issued a commemorative circulation R5 coin. The coin reflects the historical journey of the currency issued by the SARB over the past 100 years, from the iconic ‘tickey’ to the future ‘Cape honey bee’ 10c coin.... 

MINTED MILESTONES

BIG FINDS

2nd July 2021 TSX-listed Lucara Diamond Corporation announced the recovery, in June, of a 1 174.76-carat diamond from its Karowe diamond mine, in Botswana. The diamond is the third 1 000-plus-carat stone recovered from the South Lobe of the AK6 kimberlite since 2015, the others being the 1 758-carat Sewelô and... 

BIG FINDS

SIGNED & SEALED

25th June 2021 Trade, Industry and Competition Minister Ebrahim Patel’s signature heads the list of steel industry stakeholders who, earlier this month, signed ‘The South African Steel and Metal Fabrication Master Plan 1.0’, which contains an outline of the support that will be provided for the embattled steel... 

SIGNED & SEALED

POWER(HOUSE)

18th June 2021 Johannesburg, which along with the rest of the country is being afflicted by regular power cuts, plans to seek at least R3.8-billion in investment in alternative electricity supply. Bloomberg reports that the country’s economic powerhouse will, in September, issue a request for information for... 

POWER(HOUSE)

UNITED AGAINST COAL

11th June 2021 United Nations secretary-general Antonio Guterres has again called on countries to stop investing in coal, telling participants to a recent International Finance Forum, in Beijing, China, that this “means stopping the financing of coal domestically and abroad and phasing out its use”. Bloomberg... 

UNITED AGAINST COAL

UNIFIED RATE

4th June 2021 Nigeria’s central bank has moved towards a single exchange-rate system, having maintained a multiple rate for several years to avoid an outright devaluation of the naira. Late last month, the Abuja-based bank replaced the fixed 379 naira to the dollar rate for official transactions, which... 

UNIFIED RATE

EXPORT SCALE-UP

28th May 2021 VKB Agriculture loads a Transnet Freight Rail grain wagon at its Bethlehem silo rail siding, in the Free State, at the launch of the 2021 grain export season on May 17. As part of its endeavours to meet export and rail capacity issues, Transnet Freight Rail has put in place strategies to double... 

EXPORT SCALE-UP

DEADLY FLARE-UP

21st May 2021 The most disturbing aspect of the recent deadly clashes between Palestinians and Israelis was not only the hardening of attitudes, but also the absence of any real plan for resolving a conflict that truly threatens global peace and stability. Israel's Iron Dome anti-missile system, pictured here... 

DEADLY FLARE-UP

WAVES & VARIANTS

14th May 2021 The horrific scenes from India’s recent second Covid-19 wave have been held up as a warning to South Africa, where there is ongoing concern about prospects for a third wave. As with South Africa’s second wave, a new variant played a role in accelerating transmission in India. Likewise, across... 

WAVES & VARIANTS

TOTAL WITHDRAWAL

7th May 2021 Late last month, French energy group Total confirmed the withdrawal of all project personnel from the $20-billion liquefied natural gas (LNG) project it is developing with partners in northern Mozambique. In a statement, the company explained the move as follows: “Considering the evolution of the... 

TOTAL WITHDRAWAL

LEGALLY BINDING

30th April 2021 European Union lawmakers reached a deal this month to make the bloc’s ambitious climate goals legally binding, a move which Bloomberg reports will pave the way for a torrent of new rules and standards. The European Climate Law foresees a 55% reduction in net greenhouse gas emissions by 2030,... 

LEGALLY BINDING: European Union lawmakers reached a deal this month to make the bloc’s ambitious climate goals legally binding, a move which Bloomberg reports will pave the way for a torrent of new rules and standards. The European Climate Law foresees a 55% reduction in net greenhouse gas emissions by 2030, compared with 1990 levels, and zero net emissions by 2050. A legislative package to be unveiled in June will reinforce carbon pricing mechanisms, foster energy savings, increase the production of renewable energy, boost sustainable transport and curb imports of products that drive deforestation. Photograph: Bloomberg
Photo by Bloomberg
LEGALLY BINDING: European Union lawmakers reached a deal this month to make the bloc’s ambitious climate goals legally binding, a move which Bloomberg reports will pave the way for a torrent of new rules and standards. The European Climate Law foresees a 55% reduction in net greenhouse gas emissions by 2030, compared with 1990 levels, and zero net emissions by 2050. A legislative package to be unveiled in June will reinforce carbon pricing mechanisms, foster energy savings, increase the production of renewable energy, boost sustainable transport and curb imports of products that drive deforestation. Photograph: Bloomberg

POWER SHIFT

23rd April 2021 The Democratic Republic of Congo’s (DRC’s) new Cabinet, unveiled this month, is said to shift the balance of power in the resource-rich country to President Felix Tshisekedi (pictured) from his predecessor Joseph Kabila, two years after elections. The Cabinet includes the little-known... 

POWER SHIFT

VIALS TO CELEBRATE

16th April 2021 Earlier this month, South Africa officially signed an agreement with Pfizer for 20-million dual-shot vaccine doses, boosting plans to start mass vaccinations. The deal added to the 31-million single-shot doses from Johnson & Johnson, whose vaccine was officially registered for use in the country... 

VIALS TO CELEBRATE: Earlier this month, South Africa officially signed an agreement with Pfizer for 20-million dual-shot vaccine doses, boosting plans to start mass vaccinations. The deal added to the 31-million single-shot doses from Johnson & Johnson, whose vaccine was officially registered for use in the country on April 1. The country has also been allocated 12-million shots under the World Health Organization's Covax scheme and is likely to get doses for 10-million people from the African Union's acquisition initiative. Reuters reports that, after the Pfizer deal, government has enough doses to vaccinate roughly 41-million people out of its total population of 60-million. Photograph: Reuters
Photo by Reuters
VIALS TO CELEBRATE: Earlier this month, South Africa officially signed an agreement with Pfizer for 20-million dual-shot vaccine doses, boosting plans to start mass vaccinations. The deal added to the 31-million single-shot doses from Johnson & Johnson, whose vaccine was officially registered for use in the country on April 1. The country has also been allocated 12-million shots under the World Health Organization's Covax scheme and is likely to get doses for 10-million people from the African Union's acquisition initiative. Reuters reports that, after the Pfizer deal, government has enough doses to vaccinate roughly 41-million people out of its total population of 60-million. Photograph: Reuters

HEAVENLY MAINTENANCE

9th April 2021 Rio de Janeiro's iconic ‘Christ the Redeemer’ statue, atop the Corcovado Mountain in the Brazilian city, is being restored ahead of its 90th anniversary in October. Constructed between 1922 and 1931, the statue is 30-m high, excluding its 8-m pedestal, while its arms stretch 28-m wide. Architect... 

HEAVENLY MAINTENANCE

WING & PRAYER

2nd April 2021 Kenya Airways expects its passenger business to recover from the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic in 2024. The carrier, whose joint venture with Air France KLM is set to expire this September, will boost its cargo business to help blunt the impact of the drop in demand for travel by passengers,... 

WING & PRAYER
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