Fading away: South Africa's mining industry falls out of top 40 mining list
The hits just keep coming for South Africa’s mining industry.
The latest annual survey by PwC -- Mine 2015: the gloves are off – revealed South Africa failed to make the Top 40 list of mining companies by market capitalization, the first time since 2004.
“This year saw no companies in South Africa from the Top 40 list – the first time a company from this traditional mining heavyweight has not been part of our analysis, and a far cry from the five companies included in our 2004 first edition of Mine,” said the report.
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The report, which analyzed 40 of the largest listed mining companies by market capitalization, also revealed the Top 40 mining companies in the world lost $156 billion, or roughly 16 percent of their combined market value, in 2014.
More bad news
According to the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM), the South African mining industry has cut roughly 10,000 mining jobs since the start of 2015,
The industry could cut another 20,000.
“As we speak there are approximately 30 companies that have issued us with [the] Section 189 notification, with a minimum of between 15,000 to 20,000 jobs to be lost as per companies’ calculation,” said deputy secretary Tshimane Montoedi.
Mining is one of the biggest private sector employers in South Africa.
Bloomberg reported Wednesday companies operating South African mines are sidestepping regulations in plans for restructuring.
There’s “underlying deliberate circumvention of current regulatory framework,” the National Union of Mineworkers said in a statement.
A number of companies, including commodities trader Glencore, platinum producer Lonmin and mining firm Harmony, have confirmed plans to either close operations or cut jobs in the near future.
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The union is prepared to battle what it believes as a mass retrenchment drive by major companies in the mining industry in the country.
“The NUM declares war against job losses through retrenchments, voluntary severance package and other … concocted means of destroying the lives of many families with dependants in labor-sending areas,” the union said in a statement.
Between 2012 and 2014, more than 35,000 jobs were cut in the mining industry; the majority of these were in the platinum and gold sectors, according to the union.
Ngoako Ramatlhodi, South Africa’s mines minister, said last month that the government was “alarmed at the rate at which retrenchments have been taking place in the industry”.
Unmanned train to allow Vale to reopen iron ore plant
Brazilian miner Vale SA will be able to resume operations at its Timbopeba iron ore dry processing plant in up to two months thanks to the use of an unmanned train, the company said in a statement this week.
Vale - Timbopeba iro ore plant
With the train, Timbopeba will be able to operate at least at 80% of its capacity of 33,000 tonnes of iron ore “fines” per day, reports Reuters.
Vale was forced to shut down the plant in the Alegria mine complex recently after labor authorities in Minas Gerais state banned activities close to the Xingu dam due to concerns of a risk of collapse.
Vale said access by workers and vehicles continues to be suspended in the flood zone of the dam due to the ban even though it remains at emergency level 2, which means there no imminent risk of rupture.
But some workers are allowed entry under strict security precautions and they will get the unmanned train going once it has been tested, which would take between one and two months, the company said.
The unmanned train will travel automatically along 16 kilometers (10 miles) of track operated by a system that can control the speed and activate the brakes, Vale said.
Vale announces first ore at Voisey’s Bay mine extension
Vale has reached the milestone of first ore production at the Reid Brook deposit at the Voisey’s Bay mine expansion project in Northern Labrador, Canada - recognised as the safest mine in Canada.