May 17, 2020

Gold prices could be affected if South Africa's mining union strikes

South Africa
Operations
mine sites
Gold
Admin
3 min
Gold prices could be affected if South Africa's mining union strikes
Troubled times are on the horizon for the gold mining sector as South Africas Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (AMCU) is threatening to...

Troubled times are on the horizon for the gold mining sector as South Africa’s Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (AMCU) is threatening to strike if its rival union and gold mining companies impose a wage deal to its members.

Earlier this week, AMCU president Joseph Mathunjwa told a crowd of workers in Johannesburg: “If NUM (National Union of Mineworkers) and Chamber of Mines want to extend their deal to us, we will sit down, whether it’s legal or not. We will strike.”

According to Reuters, the hardline AMCU union is demanding a more than doubling of wages from gold companies AngloGold Ashanti, Sibanye Gold, Harmony Gold and Pan African Resource’s Evander Mines.

• Related content: Fading away: South Africa's mining industry falls out of top 40 mining list

Wage talks are set to begin this month as the previous two-year pay agreement expires at the end of June.

“I’ve been saving money to sustain my family for months if we go on strike and it looks we are going to go strike,” Joseph Mpele, a 32-year-old underground miner for Sibanye Gold, said outside the stadium.

“I’m prepared and ready to stay away from work for even longer than my platinum comrades last year. What’s the point of going back to work when I’m not happy with my pay?”

With 54 percent of members in the gold mining sector, NUM is demanding an 84 percent increase in wages for its members. The union is struggling to retain control of the gold sector after it lost the top spot to AMCU in the platinum industry.

The AMCU, which has 29 percent of the workforce in the gold sector, is the same union that led a five-month strike last year that paralyzed the country’s platinum industry. 

Commodity analysts will be watching the progress of the negotiations closely.

“The AMCU has already threatened a strike if it is left out of negotiations and a new agreement is concluded,” an analyst for Commerzbank said. “South Africa’s importance in terms of gold has been diminishing for years, however. Last year, the country was the world’s sixth-largest gold producer with 145 tons, which equates to 4.9 percent of global mining production according to the WBMS. Nonetheless, a prolonged strike could have an impact on supply and prices.”

Because gold is all about demand, it could also boost gold prices.

“Any kind of supply disruption is always going to be supportive for gold prices,” said Frank Lesh, a trader at FuturePath Trading. “On the other hand, the gold market is more about demand than it is about supply and this is really sort of minor in the long term because there is enough gold out there to go around.

“It’s important, but marginally so,” he added.

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Jun 2, 2021

Ericsson Private 5G to transform secure on-site connectivity

Ericsson
Boliden
5G
Smart Mining
3 min
Ericsson Private 5G is a next-gen private cellular 4G & 5G network tailored to drive Industry 4.0 and the digital transformation of industries like mining

Ericsson has launched Ericsson Private 5G. It offers secure and simple 4G LTE and 5G Standalone (SA) connectivity primarily targeting manufacturing, mining and process industries, offshore and power utilities, as well as ports and airports.

 

Ericsson

Ericsson Private 5G optimizes and simplifies business operations with cloud-based network management, keeps sensitive data on-premise, has zero downtime upgrades and guarantees high performance through Service-Level Agreements (SLAs).

It is easily installed within hours at any facility and can be scaled to support larger coverage areas, more devices and higher capacity when needed. The product is designed to be flexible and will support a range of deployment sizes, depending on requirements, to suit varied needs. Businesses can manage their networks and integrate with IT/OT systems via an open API.

5G

Ericsson Private 5G builds upon Ericsson’s 4G/5G radio and dual mode core technology, enabling a wide variety of use cases for both indoor and outdoor environments while integrating well with business operations, devices and applications. As a result, companies can improve productivity, give their customers more value and provide better working environments for employees.

Innovative use cases include tracking assets and real-time automation to improve productivity in warehouses, and a digital twin that can help to optimize manufacturing operations. Efficient quality inspections can also be performed via augmented reality or smart surveillance drones to increase worker safety, particularly in potentially hazardous environments such as ports and mines.

Boliden

Ericsson already has a significant track record of operational 4G and 5G private network deployments with customers worldwide. Ericsson Private 5G builds on the success of that solution portfolio and deployment insights, as well as insights from projects such as 5G-Industry Campus Europe.

Peter Burman, Program Manager Mine Automation, at Swedish mining company Boliden, commented: “Automation, and safety through automation in our mining operations is an absolute must for us. Ericsson Private 5G is exactly what Boliden needs to bring high quality, fast and secure connectivity into potentially hazardous environments allowing us to mobilize efficiency and safety improving use cases.

Niels König, Coordinator 5G-Industry Campus Europe, Fraunhofer Institute for Production Technology IPT added: “Private 5G networks are highly attractive for producing companies because of the uncompromised performance that 5G can bring, allowing them to tackle the challenges of production. Efficiently deploying and using network solutions in enterprises requires simplicity in installation, flexibility in connecting to existing production IT and lean operations while at the same time being able to scale the network to meet future challenges. Ericsson Private 5G delivers exactly these capabilities.”

Ericsson

Enterprise Networks

Leo Gergs, Senior Analyst, ABI Research, noted: “With this new offering, Ericsson will be able to address key trends in the enterprise cellular market.  The value proposition will appeal to operators and service providers as the solution hides technology complexity and therefore reduces the barrier of entry to deployment for many different flavors of enterprise networks.”

Thomas Noren, Head of Dedicated Networks, Business Area Technologies and New Businesses, Ericsson, revealed: “With Ericsson Private 5G, we take the best of Ericsson’s current portfolio and top it up with the best of our new technology. We do this to give businesses what they need to improve productivity, enable new offerings and give employees a better working environment. With Ericsson Private 5G, we also give operators a better way to serve business customers and leverage their assets - in short, to grow beyond mobile broadband.”

Ericsson recently joined a three-year initiative to develop autonomous, carbon-neutral mining processes supported by 5G connectivity. Funded by the EU’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation program, the $16mn Next-Generation Carbon-Neutral Pilots for Smart Intelligent Mining Systems (NEXGEN SIMS) project is being coordinated by Swedish mining and infrastructure equipment manufacturer, Epiroc, in cooperation with a range of industry-diverse partners, including: Ericsson, K+S, Boliden, Agnico Eagle Finland, KGHM Polska and Luleå University of Technology.

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