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Standing before hundreds of mining investors and executives last week, Ghanaian President Nana Akufo-Addo issued a firm warning: stop expecting supercharged profits from Africa’s mineral riches.

It’s a theme that has simmered for years, as governments across the continent seek a bigger share of benefits from their natural resources. The debate ratcheted up in 2018, with countries including the Democratic Republic of Congo and Zambia—the continent’s No. 1 and 2 copper producers—becoming increasingly insistent that producers must pay up.

There’s also been a backlash against the terms under which foreign companies agreed to invest in the first place—many mining codes, investment pacts and joint ventures were drawn up based on lower commodity prices and by previous regimes. In his Cape Town speech, Akufo-Addo said African nations shouldn’t be expected to give special financial incentives to secure investment that producers wouldn’t get in other parts of the world.

For Congo and Zambia at least, geology is on the government’s side

For Congo and Zambia at least, geology is on the government’s side. The countries are home to some of the richest copper deposits at a time when the biggest miners are universally bullish on the metal and almost all are looking to expand their exposure. Congo’s resources of cobalt—a key ingredient in rechargeable batteries that’s found in the country alongside copper—are even rarer.

In Congo, arguably the most important of Africa’s mineral-rich countries, the government introduced a new mining code last year that raised royalties, added taxes and canceled a clause that would have protected producers against fiscal changes for 10 years.

“Never forget that money is a coward.”

There has been strong opposition from the mining industry, but no concessions. While producers may have hoped for a reprieve when the country elected a new president in December, there have been initial indications that the code won’t be revisited. Still, President Felix Tshisekedi has yet to appoint a team or clearly outline policy, so the situation may change.

Zambia, which is situated on the same giant copper belt as Congo, has also increased its mining royalties. While companies threatened to cut jobs and close mines, the government says it’s standing firm.

“The mismatch that exists between the huge resources that the country sits on and the poverty levels in the rest of the country cannot continue,” said Zambia Mines Minister Richard Musukwa. “There is no one who goes to pay taxes while smiling. It’s only natural for them to defend their positions.”

So far, the mining industry has been vocal in its opposition to the changes, but its options are limited. Having poured billions of dollars into building mines that take years to start making money, many have little choice but to grumble and get on with it.

Still, producers warn that the increased uncertainty will put future investment at risk.

“Never forget that money is a coward,” said Robert Friedland, founder of Ivanhoe Mines Ltd., which is developing huge copper and zinc mines in Congo. “When a politician says something dumb, when a government does something dumb, money runs away at the speed of light.”

Bloomberg News

The post Africa should stop expecting supercharged profits from mining: Akufo-Addo appeared first on Mining Zimbabwe.

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WATCH: As crowds celebrate when the first miners appeared from below the ground in Battlefields.

The post Celebrations as trapped Miners resurface from underground appeared first on Mining Zimbabwe.

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“Survivors were neck deep in water for days”

The member of Parliament for Chegutu West Dexter Nduna explains in detail what happened at the Battlefields Mine and updates the current situation of the survivors.

The accident has highlighted the safety issues confronting illegal gold miners, who last year contributed significantly to Zimbabwe’s record 33 tonne bullion output.

Battlefields and surrounding areas are rich in gold deposits and popular with artisanal miners who use picks and shovels and generator-powered water pumps. The makeshift shafts and tunnels can easily collapse in the rainy season when the ground is soft.

The pits are dotted around a clearing some 8 km from the main dirt road. On the edges are shacks made of plastic which serve as accommodation for those digging for gold.

At abandoned mines, the miners, known locally as “Makorokoza” or hustlers, usually sneak in at night and can disappear into shafts and tunnels for more than two days.

Listen to the audio below detailing what really happened 

https://miningzimbabwe.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/02/Dexter-Nduna-audio-on-rescued-miners.ogg

The post AUDIO: What really happened at the Battlefields mine disaster appeared first on Mining Zimbabwe.

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SURVIVORS of the Battlefield mine accident are starting to surface after a spirited effort to rescue them from the pits they where illegally mining.

President Emmason Mnangagwa declared the accident a state of disaster. The accident occurred at the Silver Moon and Cricket Mines in battlefields near Kadoma.

More survivors are expected to be resurface as rescue teams are working nonstop since the news broke.

The post IMAGES: Dexter Nduna with rescued miners appeared first on Mining Zimbabwe.

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REPORTS coming in say at least 8 miners have been rescued at the battlefields mine.

More to follow…

The post 8 miners are rescued from Battlefields mines appeared first on Mining Zimbabwe.

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South Africa’s Gold Fields Ltd said on Friday its full-year profit slumped 73 percent, dented by a decline in bullion production led by its South Deep operations.

Headline earnings per share (HEPS) fell to $0.07 per share, for the full year ended Dec. 31, 2018, from $0.26 in the previous year.

HEPS is the main profit measure used in South Africa that strips out certain one-off items.

Revenue dropped 7 percent to $2.58 billion in 2018 from $2.76 billion in 2017 due to the lower ounces sold, the firm said.

Bullion production slipped 6 percent to 2.036 million ounces in 2018 from 2.160 million ounces in 2017 due to a decline in production at South Deep, Gold Fields said.

While South Deep had a difficult year, the large-scale restructuring completed at the end of 2018, places the mine on an improved footing from which to gradually build up production

South Deep, the company’s last South African asset, has lost money over the past five years and Goldfields has been working to mechanise operations in the face of challenging geology 3 kms (2 miles) below the surface.

Production at the South Deep in 2018 was affected by a slow build-up after the seasonal holidays in the first quarter, labour restructuring, safety stoppages and a six-week strike, the gold miner said.

“While South Deep had a difficult year, the large-scale restructuring completed at the end of 2018, places the mine on an improved footing from which to gradually build up production,” said Chief Executive Officer Nick Holland in a statement.

Gold Fields, which employs about 3,600 people in South Africa, said last year it would restructure its South Deep operations and cut about 1,100 jobs, nearly a third of the workforce, to save money. In response, the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) went on strike at the mine on Nov. 2.

The firm has declared a dividend of 20 cents per share, making the total dividend for the year at 40 cents ($0.0283) per share, compared with 90 cents a year ago.

Reuters

The post Gold fields slumped 73% appeared first on Mining Zimbabwe.

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Relatives of trapped  Zimbabwean small scale gold miners on Friday expressed frustration at the slow pace of rescue efforts, saying they were losing hope of finding up to 70 people alive as the government declared the accident a disaster.

Rescuers in Battlefields, 175 km (109 miles) west of Harare, had hoped to start bringing the miners out by Friday afternoon but the amount of water in the pits and underground tunnels slowed progress. The accident has highlighted the safety issues confronting illegal gold miners, who last year contributed significantly to Zimbabwe’s record 33 tonne bullion output.

Local Government Minister July Moyo said in a statement the government had declared a state of disaster and that up to 70 people could have been trapped in the pits.

“Currently, frantic efforts are being made to pump out the water from the flooded shafts before the retrieval of the victims,” Moyo said without giving a timeframe.

The miners were trapped on Tuesday night when the shafts they were working in were flooded after a nearby dam burst.

“From what I am seeing and the level of water I saw, there is little chance of that happening, I am preparing for the worst”

“We lost a lot of people and what is so painful is that we see a lot of rescue people but its been three days without any success,” Albert Mazongo, whose two brothers were trapped in the shafts, told Reuters.

Battlefields and surrounding areas are rich in gold deposits and popular with artisanal miners who use picks and shovels and generator-powered water pumps. The makeshift shafts and tunnels can easily collapse in the rainy season when the ground is soft.

The pits are dotted around a clearing some 8 km from the main dirt road. On the edges are shacks made of plastic which serve as accommodation for those digging for gold.

At abandoned mines, the miners, known locally as “Makorokoza” or hustlers, usually sneak in at night and can disappear into shafts and tunnels for more than two days.

They sell their gold to central bank subsidiary Fidelity Printers and Refiners or private buyers.

Relatives said the trapped miners were caught unawares as they went about their routine work in the shafts, some of which were 100 metres deep.

“They should give us the chance to go into the pits because we know the pits better than them,” Mazongo said, as the sound of water pumps clearing the shafts hummed through the air.

State-owned newspaper The Herald said rescue teams from nearby mines and the Civil Protection Unit were trying to recover the men but authorities did not expect to find survivors.

Carlos Daka, who also mines in the shaft but was not working on the fateful night, said he considered himself lucky but was grieving for his colleagues.

“I am in tears because most of the people trapped down there are my age – between 21 and 23 years of age – so really its so painful that they are trapped,” he said.

Reuters

The post Relatives of trapped miners expresses frustration appeared first on Mining Zimbabwe.

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The Battlefields Mine accident has been declared a national disaster.

President Emmason Mnangagwa declared the accident a state of disaster. The accident occurred at the Silver Moon and Cricket Mines in battlefields near Kadoma.

The Director of the Civil Protection Department, Nathan Nkomo told ZBC News that the relatives of each victim will receive $1000 which will go towards meeting burial costs plus one blanket to each victim among other forms of assistance.

So far close to 50 people have been declared dead with some eyewitnesses believing the number could certainly be higher.

The post Battlefields Mine accident declared a national disaster appeared first on Mining Zimbabwe.

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