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LUSAKA (Reuters) – Zambia will fine and break ties with mining firms that fail to operate according to the southern African country’s laws, President Edgar Lungu said on Thursday, escalating a dispute with India-listed Vedanta.

Vedanta is fighting Zambia’s decision last month to name a provisional liquidator to run its Konkola Copper Mines (KCM) business and is seeking international arbitration.

Zambia, Africa’s second-largest copper producer, says KCM has breached the terms of its licence.

The dispute between Vedanta and the Zambian government has intensified concerns among international miners about rising resource nationalism in Africa.

Lungu said in a statement at a mining and energy conference in Lusaka that the government expected investors to operate within the confines of the law.

“Failure to do so will result in the government imposing sanctions and disengaging with the unwilling parties,” he said in the statement read out by Mines Minister Richard Musukwa.

Zambia’s Chamber of Mines said last month that 2019 copper output could be as much as 100,000 tonnes lower than last year because of changes to mining taxes.

Zambia plans to introduce a new non-refundable sales tax in place of Value Added Tax, despite criticism from mining companies.

Lungu disagreed with the Chamber of Mines’ predictions, saying the government forecast copper output would reach 890,000 tonnes by the end of the year, more than last year.

He said the government was ready for dialogue with miners, which account for 70 per cent of export earnings.

But he added: “The government will not take kindly to any form of arm-twisting on the part of industry with regard to meeting their obligations.”

The post Lungu threatens to fine miners appeared first on Mining Zimbabwe.

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JOHANNESBURG – Gold production is on its longest losing streak in more than a decade.

Fresh from losing its status as continent leader to Ghana, South Africa’s gold industry suffered a further blow yesterday with output in the sector plunging 19.5percent year on year in April, dragging down production in the whole mining sector with it.

South African gold production has declined by more than 54percent since 2005, for reasons including increased depth of mining, less working time at the face due to greater distances from shaft infrastructure, declining grades, rising costs and stoppages.

René Hochreiter, a mining analyst at Noah Capital Markets, said the gold sector was fast approaching its sell-by date and that platinum, manganese and coal held more promise.

“If you add in total costs, including capex, most of South Africa’s gold production is loss-making. The resources are very deep and the cost of getting those resources is so high that it is not worth it,” Hochreiter said.

“I don’t see South African gold production reaching the kind of tons it did 15 to 20 years ago. Production will basically continue to decline because of the costs.”

Output in the sector this year was also harmed by the five-month strike at Sibanye-Stillwater gold mines by the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union and power outages that took place in the first quarter of the year.

Statistics South Africa said mining production shrank 1.5percent on a yearly basis in April with declined output in iron ore, chromium ore, nickel and building materials joining gold as the main negative contributors in the period.

Gains were recorded in copper, manganese ore, platinum group metals, diamonds and other non-metallic minerals sectors. On a monthly basis, mining output dropped by 2.3percent, following an increase of 4.2percent month on month in March.

Minerals Council South Africa chief economist Henk Langenhoven said gold production was unlikely to recover to its previous levels.

“Gold’s lower production was accelerated by the Sibanye-Stillwater strike action. However, the Minerals Council has been saying for a long time that more than 60percent of gold mines are marginal or loss-making and the fact that Sibanye is closing shafts is an example of the reality of this,” Langenhoven said.

FNB economist Matlhodi Matsei said although April’s print outcome spelt a weak start to mining production in the second quarter, the sector would like to see an improvement in the remainder of the quarter.

“Factors that are likely to support recovery include improved electricity supply compared to the first quarter, as well as some normalisation in gold mining production following the end of the protracted strike at Sibanye-Stillwater,” Matsei said.

“Nevertheless, the backdrop of cooling global activity and ongoing trade tensions present downside risks to this potential recovery.”

The mining and quarrying industry decreased by 10.8percent in the first quarter largely as the result of low production of coal, gold, iron ore and chrome ore. Together with manufacturing, trade and agriculture, the sector formed the biggest negative of the first quarter’s shock 3.2percent contraction.

Activity data this week showed that the manufacturing and trade sectors rebounded strongly at the start of the second quarter.

Capital Economics emerging markets economist Virág Fórizs said while mining figures for April were softer than expected, stronger conditions in the rest of the economy suggested that the second quarter started on a brighter note.

“Manufacturing output growth jumped to 4.6percent year on year in April, while retail sales rose by 2.4percent year on year. And measured on a month-on-month basis, the manufacturing and retail sectors also recorded stronger growth in April than in the first quarter. Taken together, the figures for April point to South Africa starting the second quarter on a firmer footing,” Fórizs said.

BUSINESS REPORT 

The post South Africa gold mining continues to lose its shine appeared first on Mining Zimbabwe.

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A Zimbabwe Republic Police Officer, who allegedly led a heist at former Gwanda mayor, Knowledge Ndlovu’s Ettrick Mine and allegedly stole gold ore worth thousands of United States dollars, was reportedly arrested after a high-speed chase.

The incident reportedly took place on Saturday night in Colleen Bawn, about 20km outside Gwanda.

Reports say the cop, Bhekimpilo Moyo, who is stationed at Gwanda Police Station, and his accomplices went to the mine when Ndlovu was milling some gold ore.

The gang came across the former mayor’s employees guarding some gold ore, which was waiting to be ferried to the stamp mill, and they attacked them.

Fearing for their lives, the employees reportedly fled from the mine, leaving Moyo and his gang behind. It is alleged that the gang then loaded the gold ore into their truck and left
the scene.

The workers phoned their employer, Ndlovu, who rushed to the mine and intercepted the gang as they were leaving the mine.

The cop and some of his accomplices were apprehended after a 10km high-speed chase.

They were handed over to the police.

Contacted for comment, Ndlovu said he could not comment because it was now in the hands of the police.

“The matter is in the hands of the police. I can’t comment on the issue. It could jeopardise investigations,” he said.

Matabeleland South police spokesperson Chief Inspector Philisani Ndebele yesterday also declined to comment on the matter.

Last month, another police officer appeared in court accused of illegal gold panning and stealing gold ore from Gaika Mine in Kwekwe.

Donemore Nyashanu (33), of Mazvikite village under Chief Mposi in Mberengwa, a Support Unit operative, connived with five other members of the joint taskforce, who were tasked with guarding Gaika Mine, to conduct illegal mining activities and steal gold ore. Source – NEWSDAY

The post ZRP Officer arrested for gold ore heist appeared first on Mining Zimbabwe.

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A South African popular news website reported that Zimbabwean national Frank Joe Moyo, who was allegedly linked to illegal mining, was murdered on Tuesday evening in Limpopo in South Africa.

Police spokesperson Col Moatshe Ngoepe said Moyo was shot dead at about 7.30pm in Letsitele, outside Tzaneen.

“It is alleged that a 41-year-old man [Moyo], was coming from the Carnival City in Gauteng and arrived at a house in Zanghoma village to pay his ‘illegal mining employee’,” Ngoepe said.

“Moyo was outside the house talking to some of the employees when an unknown assailant entered the yard, shot him and fled on foot with his cellphone and an undisclosed amount of money.”

Moyo was certified dead at the scene.

Around 52 people are murdered in South Africa every day. The murder rate increased rapidly in the late-1980s and early-1990s. Between 1994 -2009, the murder rate halved from 67 to 34 murders per 100,000 people.

The post Zimbabwean miner murdered in SA appeared first on Mining Zimbabwe.

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For the past two months, Zimbabwe has been experiencing severe unstable power supply. This came after South Africa’s Eskom experienced massive problems in relations to finances which led it to implement massive power cuts for the first time since 1994.

Zimbabwe Electricity supply authority (ZESA) Holdings reportedly owed South Africa power utility, Eskom and Mozambican Power Company an estimate of US$100 million debt for power imports, with Eskom struggling to survive amidst its huge debt, the power utility can’t afford to give ZESA electricity on credit.

Zimbabwe has a daily peak demand of 1 400MW of which currently the country is producing 800 MW from a supposed 930 MW. This is, therefore, a direct indication that despite low water levels in the Kariba dam, the country doesn’t meet the country’s electricity demand.

Zimbabwe can access up to 450MW from both South Africa and Mozambique if the two regional power utilities are paid off their monies which amounts to an estimated US$100 million. If the country is able to import from its regional countries unstable electricity supply in the country will eventually cease.

ZESA is also failing to supply electricity enough for the country because it is selling its electricity at very low prices. ZESA currently charges $0, 0986 per kilowatt hour nearly $0,025 when using the inter-bank rate and about $0, 015 when using the parallel market rate while it costs about $0, 11 per kWh to produce electricity locally. Thus, ZESA is operating at a loss, therefore, a clear indication of why the country is experiencing these extraordinary power cuts.

Zambia which shares hydropower project with Zimbabwe at Kariba dam reportedly has surplus electricity production which is expected to power the SADC. Zambia generates practically all its energy production from its own primary resources. These resources include biomass, coal and hydroelectricity.

Recently the minister of Energy Fortune Chasi reportedly said that water levels in Lake Kariba were so low that current supplies will not be able to generate power that is sufficient for the country.
Thus, according to a statement released by Zimbabwe Power Company (ZPC) in early May this year, electricity generation at Kariba Power Company was reduced to an average of 358 MW from the planned 542 MW as a result of water allocation reduction.

Hwange power station which reportedly being under construction has a capacity of producing 930MW but is currently generating less than 400MW, however, upon its completion, the power station will generate 1200 MW.

The post Kariba water not the cause of unstable power supply appeared first on Mining Zimbabwe.

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Defunct Steel manufacturer Ziscosteel, is set to get a new board of directors after Government retired the entire old board that had been in office for more than a decade. Industry and Commerce Minister Nqobizitha Mangaliso Ndlovu, confirmed that the board led by Mr Nyasha Makuvise had overstayed its term of office and has been retired, paving way for the appointment of a new board.

“We have retired the entire old board. The new one is expected anytime soon. In fact, I already have the names and am awaiting approval by President Emerson Mnangagwa,” said Minister Ndlovu.

“The board has been there for long, more than 10 years. Under normal circumstances, the board was supposed to be in office for two terms of four years, that is a total of eight years in office. We are actually celebrating their tenure and appreciating their hard work in trying to turn around the fortunes of our great national asset.”

The board leaves office at time when there are allegations of looting of assets within the giant steel manufacturer. During the commissioning of ZimCoke plant that is within the Ziscosteel plant recently, Midlands Provincial Affairs Minister Larry Mavima decried alleged theft within the parastatal.

“We all know that Zisco has been closed for a long period now. While it appears that everything is intact there are, however, there are incidences of cannibalism and removal of assets from this particular public enterprise. However, I should mention that management to an extent has tried to protect these assets,” said Minister Mavima.

Minister Ndlovu also confirmed having received such information, saying the coming in of ZimCoke will put a stop to such shenanigans.

“I have heard about those allegations. We, however, cannot say the retiring of the board is part of the solution but I know for sure the coming in of ZimCoke, which is set to resume operations in the near future, will improve sanity at the parastatal,” he said.

“I understand they are bringing in top notch security that will be manning not only ZimCoke but the entire Ziscosteel plant.”
Minister Ndlovu said an investigation will also be conducted in the near future to ascertain which assets were missing.

The coming in of new board is expected to bring renewed hope towards the revitalization of the giant steel company, which is considered one of the biggest in the region.

With capacity to employ more than 5 000 workers and supply the whole region with steel, the company is a strategic player in the country’ economic turnaround._The Herald

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At least 34 employees, who are being represented by the Zimbabwe Diamond and Allied Minerals Workers’ Union (Zdamwu), are claiming that the Chinese company owes them over $154 000 in underpayment of wages and gratuities.

WORKERS at a Bubi-based Chinese gold mining company, Ming Chang Sino Africa Mining Investments (Pvt) Ltd, have taken their employer to the national employment council (Nec) for the mining industry over underpayment of wages.

However, on April 12 this year, Ming Chang, which operates a lime factory in Bubi district, approached the labour court seeking an urgent application for a show cause and disposal order against its 34 workers.

It argued that the employees had engaged in an unlawful collective job action without cause.

The mining company claimed workers were demanding back-pay, salary increments, transport allowances and company provided accommodation.

“…respondents (workers) and any other employee who was involved in the unlawful strike at Ming Chang Sino Africa Investments (Pvt) Ltd, Bulawayo Lime Factory and Bubi district, Bulawayo, be and are hereby dismissed from employment,” the application read.

But workers dismissed the allegations, arguing they did not embark on a strike, but were locked out of the premises by the employer.

Zdamwu general-secretary Justice Chinhema accused Chinese companies of violating local labour laws.

“We have said if the Chinese are genuine investors, they must come here and comply with the laws of Zimbabwe. They must comply with our labour laws, not what is happening now. That protection that they have claimed to have, we have found out it is not there,” he said.

“There is no that super protection that they allege. Yes, we have got corrupt elements within the government and within the political set up who protect these people, which is corruption. This must also stop,” Chinhema said._NewsDay

The post Gold mine workers take Chinese employer to NEC appeared first on Mining Zimbabwe.

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SOLE state gold buying entity, Fidelity Printers and Refineries (FPR) will this month set up a gold production taskforce in conjunction with producers of the yellow metal as it seeks producer input that will inform payment modalities to curb rampant leakages.

Zimbabwe last year produced a record 33,2 tonnes of the yellow metal and Government has set this year’s target at 40 tonnes .
The target is to produce 100 tonnes per year from 2023 onwards.

Gold production and mining in general is one of the key pillars on which Government hopes to anchor Vision 2030 by which Zimbabwe should be an upper middle income earning economy.

However, the sector is being pegged backwards by gold leakages as some unscrupulous producers opt to smuggle their product out of the country where they are paid 100 percent in hard currency as opposed to the 55 percent in hard currency and 45 percent in RTGS$ on the local market.

Addressing the media after meeting the national leadership of the Zimbabwe Miners Federation (ZMF) in Harare yesterday, FPR general manager Fradreck Kunaka said the yellow metal buyer will engage with producers to get an appreciation of their costs before making scientific evidence based representations to Government in search of a leakages curbing payment regime.

“We all know that at the end of the day all producers are rationale persons, they look at the value proposition and this is what has brought us together to make sure that at the end of the day the miner realises the true value of the commodity,” said Mr Kunaka.

“It’s not about going to South Africa or not but what is important is the miner feels the value of the commodity that they would have delivered to Fidelity is the true value that they are paid.

“Today we have agreed to come up with a committee that will then look at the operational costs of the small scale miners so that at the end of the day when a presentation is being made to the relevant authorities of what we feel is the value proposition which miners should get is based on facts as opposed to where people just come and say we want a retention of this magnitude.

“We want to do it more scientifically by setting up that committee which will then advise the relevant authorities to set the right price, which gives the value proposition to the miner,” he said.

Speaking at the same event, ZMF president Henrietta Rushwaya said the miners are committed to playing a part in stopping the leakages at a time the economy is dogged by foreign currency shortages. She implored the authorities to play their part.

“As ZMF we are committing to ensuring that we minimise gold leakages,” said Ms Rushwaya. The issue to do with gold leakages has become cancerous in this country and as such we felt it was high time that we join forces with gold partners who happen to be Fidelity in ensuring that all the people that are responsible for the illicit gold leakages are brought to book.

“To our sector we are going around the country with Fidelity and ensure that people will start to gain the much needed confidence that is supposed be there. We will, however, continue engaging Government on the 45–55 percent retention threshold, which we know if we come up with sound requests, Government will reconsider,” she said._The Herald

The post Fidelity seeks miners’ input appeared first on Mining Zimbabwe.

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In an effort to eradicate gold leakage in Zimbabwe, yesterday Fidelity Printers and Refiners (FPR) got into a mutual strategic partnership with Zimbabwe’s biggest association in the Mining industry, the Zimbabwe Miners Federation.

By Dickson Rudairo Mapuranga

Fidelity Printers and Refiners General Manager Fradreck Kunaka said that the essence of the partnership between the two parties is to enhance gold mobilisation, production and delivery to FPR.

Small scale miners are the biggest producers of gold in Zimbabwe. Last year Zimbabwe achieved a record gold production of 33,28 tonnes up from 24, 8 tonnes in 2017. Small scale miners’ production was at 21,7 tonnes, while primary producers accounted for the remaining 11, 5 tonnes.

According to Kunaka the spirit behind the partnership between FPR as the sole gold buyer and exporter and ZMF as the largest body that regulates and controls the activities of small scale miners in Zimbabwe, is to remove the current opinion that Fidelity Printers and Refiners is milking miners of their hard-earned foreign currency.

“We need to come together and map up a way forward in terms of enhancing production for the benefit of the nation and remove the perception that there are bad boys and girls,” said Kunaka.

Kunaka also said that the partnership between FPR and ZMF will help the two to come up with policies that regulate the small mining sector in order to make the operation of the sector friendlier.

“We are able to come up with strategies that will ensure that there is a regulation of the sector given that it’s a sector where more players don’t have enough equipment,” he said.

Zimbabwe Miners Federation President Henrietta Rushwaya added saying that the quintessence of the partnership is to make the two parties resume duties that they were defaulting to other parties who do not have direct communication with the producers on the ground, as a result, there was a lot of gold leakages.

The ZMF boss also said that the Federation and Fidelity have to come up with strategies to register unregistered gold buyers and producers in order to minimise leakages that the country is experiencing.

“It is high time we don’t renege our roles, take upon what is supposed to be done by us, ensure whoever seems to be producing and buying gold out there is registered so that we come up with a register for producers and a register for buyers,” she said.

The post ZMF, Fidelity partner to enhance gold mobilisation, production and delivery appeared first on Mining Zimbabwe.

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Zimbabwe Miners Federation which last week announced a deal with Glow Petroleum to ease fuel problems for the miner, has once again announced a partnership with the country’s sole gold buyer and exporter, Fidelity Printers and Refiners (FPR), to ensure that miners realise the true value of their gold production, at a meeting held yesterday at the Rainbow Towers in Harare.

Rudairo Dickson Mapuranga

Gold producers have been advocating for 90 to 100 per cent foreign currency retention threshold from Fidelity Printers and Refiners since the 55 per cent they are receiving currently is not viable for production.

However, the partnership between ZMF and FPR will benefit gold producers as the two parties will ensure according to both ZMF president Henrietta Rushwaya and FPR General Manager Fradreck Kunaka that the miners realise the true value of their gold production.

According to the Fidelity Printers and Refiners General Manager, the two parties will set up a committee to set up the right price that will be viable for the miners, the committee according to Mr Kunaka will also look at the operation cost of the small scale miners so as to come up with prices that are viable for them.
Mr Kunaka also added saying that the partnership between FPR and ZMF will ensure that miners realise the true value of their production.

“What is important is that the miner feels the value of the commodity which they would have delivered to Fidelity,” he said.

Henrietta Rushwaya added saying that the Federation will continue to engage the government with regard to 55 per cent forex retention, however also taking cognisant of the challenges that the government is experiencing concerning the issues of foreign currency.

“If we properly come up with a sound request, the government will reconsider its position, but it’s not a question of just going to the government to say we want 80, 90 foreign currency retention,” she said.

The Zimbabwe Miners Federation is the brainchild of the Ministry of Mines and Mining Development whose birth was marked to represent and contribute to the development and growth of small scale miners.

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