The organising team of the 2020 iteration of the Investing in Africa Mining Indaba notes an increased appetite for engagement within the African mining sector, particularly for discussions around sustainability. Media company Hyve Group content head Tom Quinn says this is evidenced by the “tangible change” in the way that extractive industries are now doing business, with expectations around the manner in which business is carried out key to ongoing capital investment – the phenomenon dubbed environmental, social and governance (ESG) investing.
When the question arises as to what South Africa’s most abundant source of energy is, the usual answer is coal. South Africa has built almost its entire electricity system, as well as a good portion of its liquid-fuels industry, on the back of its plentiful reserves of coal. Furthermore, it is estimated that there is still another 33 Gigatonnes (Gt, where 1 Gt = 1 billion tonnes) of the energy mineral yet to be mined, which equates to about 300 years at current rate of domestic consumption. In reality, though, South Africa‘s solar and wind resources are infinitely more ‘abundant’ than its coal resources. Instead of mining these renewable resources, however, technologies need to be deployed to ‘harvest’ them. To do this involves not only solar panels and wind turbines, but land.
JSE-listed steel producer ArcelorMittal South Africa (AMSA) warned on Thursday that it would swing back into a large lossmaking position following an “exceptionally difficult” 2019 financial year, which the company described as the most challenging for the steel industry since the Global Financial Crisis of 2008. In a note to shareholders, AMSA cautioned that its headline earnings for year would plummet by at least R4.3-billion, representing a massive deterioration from the headline profit of R968-million reported in 2018; the group’s first profit since 2010.
A mere 14% of South African CEOs were very confident about their 12-month revenue prospects this year, compared with 18% last year, while 27% of CEOs globally said they were very confident in their own organisation’s growth prospects. This aligned with the view of 44% of South African CEOs that the global economy growth rate would decline in 2020.
South Africa’s Richards Bay Coal Terminal on Wednesday reported a decline in coal exports for the second consecutive year. The private-sector-owned terminal, which works hand in glove with the State-owned Transnet Freight Rail and Transnet National Ports Authority, exported 72.5-million tonnes (Mt) of coal in 2019, 1.32 Mt short of 2018’s 73.47 Mt, which was itself 4.1% less than 2017’s coal exportation.