JSE ends softer on declines in gold and resources

THE JSE closed the Tuesday session softer as market participants took profit in the resources and gold mining sectors after good recent gains and following a minor sell-off in these sectors in Australia today‚ which filtered through to the local bourse.

At 5pm‚ the all share index closed 0.1% lower at 46‚889.64 points and the top 40 index was 0.11% softer.

The gold mining index led declines‚ shedding 3.85%‚ followed by resources down 1.41% after rises over the past few days that were underpinned by a weak rand.

Retailers regained some strength after some losses over the last week or so‚ with the food retail index ending 0.92% firmer and general retailers up 0.75%.

“A minor sell-off of resources and miners in Australia on the back of weaker commodity prices put pressure on our miners and pushed our resource sector lower. The announcements of local strikes added pressure to our resources‚” Investec Asset Management equity dealer Kagiso Matlala said.

“Retailers have bounced back after being sold off the last couple of days after some negative trading updates last week. They have now come back a bit after selling has been a bit overdone‚” he said.

Meanwhile, US stocks rose‚ as the Chinese central bank’s injection of funds into money markets and some positive corporate news helped put investors returning from a long holiday weekend in an upbeat mood‚ Dow Jones Newswires reported.

At 5pm local time‚ the Dow Jones industrial average was up 0.14% at 16‚476.42 points. The stock market was closed on Monday for Martin Luther King Junior Day.

The People’s Bank of China injected liquidity into the banking system after short-term borrowing costs leapt as demand for cash increased ahead of the Lunar New Year holiday‚ helping ease concern over a credit crunch‚ the news service said.

Among individual shares on the JSE, Anglo American shed 2.74% to R241.84 and rival BHP Billiton ended 1.95% lower at R331.20, while Sasol gained 1.33% to R545 on a firmer oil price.

Kumba Iron Ore lost 3.25% to R446.

AngloGold Ashanti led declines in the gold space, falling 4.77% to R144, followed by Harmony Gold, down 3.36% to R29.87. Gold Fields gave back 3.2% to R36.25 despite a positive production and cost trading update on Tuesday.

Gold Fields’ attributable group production for the fourth quarter ended December 2013 is expected to be about 598‚000 gold-equivalent ounces‚ which is 21% higher than the 496‚000 ounces achieved in the September 2013 quarter (third quarter)‚ the gold miner said.

Among platinum counters, Anglo American Platinum gained 2.21% to R417.65, as looming strikes could disrupt supplies, while Lonmin bucked the trend, shedding 3.25% to R56.

Northam Platinum lifted 2.07% to R44.91 after management confirmed late on Tuesday that the strike at the company’s Zondereinde mine had ended, and a two-year wage agreement had been reached.

Global brewer SABMiller closed 0.14% firmer at R549.68 after it released a trading update on Tuesday stating total beverage volumes grew by 2% for the third quarter on an organic basis‚ with lager volumes up 1% and soft drink volumes up 7%.

Electronics group Ellies Holdings closed 2.52% higher at R6.10, despite announcing a 41% drop in interim profit, which the company ascribed to the ending of a contract with Eskom.

Among retailers, Woolworths rose 1.3% to R69.49, Shoprite added 1.04% to R150 and Spar gained 1.85% to R123.75.

Mining tycoon scores a win in corruption battle

The controversial mining tycoon Beny Steinmetz has won what he claimed to be a major victory involving corruption allegations in the troubled west African state of Guinea.

His London-based empire has been dogged by claims that he corruptlyobtained mining rights to what could be the world’s richest iron ore deposit under the previous president of the country. A French newspaper last year reported that he and his business had been part of a coup effort against current leader, Alpha Condé.

The report included evidence based on French secret service documents which, it emerged yesterday, the French ministry of defence says were fakes. The fakery claim is seen as important by Mr Steinmetz because of other allegations against him based on what he says are forged documents.

In the US, a Steinmetz associate, Frederic Cilins, has been charged with attempting to obstruct justice after allegedly trying to destroy documents sought by a federal grand jury investigation into the tycoon. Mr Steinmetz claims those, too, are forged.

South Africa can ill-afford more platinum strikes – Gordhan

South Africa cannot afford more labour unrest in the platinum industry, Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan said on Monday, after the sector’s main trade union said it would launch a strike at the world’s top three producers this week.

Members of the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (AMCU) voted overwhelmingly on Sunday to strike at the world’s biggest producer, Anglo American Platinum.

That followed recent votes to strike at Impala Platinum and Lonmin Plc. A simultaneous stoppage at the three would hit an important export at a time when the rand currency is near a five-year low, and further dent investor confidence in Africa’s largest economy.

“The platinum industry needs to seriously get around the table,” Gordhan told state broadcaster SAFM in an interview.

“We can least afford another round of strikes that will act as a destabilisation to the platinum sector which has had increasing difficulties over the last 18 months.”

Renewed labour unrest would also be an unwelcome distraction for President Jacob Zuma and his ruling African National Congress ahead of general elections expected in three months.

At Anglo American Platinum and Lonmin, the union is seeking a minimum monthly wage of 12,500 rand ($1,200) for entry-level workers – more than double current levels, under the populist banner of a “living wage”.

At Impala, the union scaled back its demand late last year to just over 8,500 rand a month.

Companies have said they can ill afford steep increases as power and other costs soar while prices for the white metal used in emissions-capping catalytic converters in automobiles remain depressed.

Platinum’s spot price shed 11 percent last year and is about 40 percent down from record peaks scaled in 2008.


One of China’s largest copper/gold mines to expand dramatically

China Gold International Resources plans to expand production capacity at its Jiama mine to 50,000 t/d (Phase II plant capacity) with the addition of a new floatation plant (44,000 t/d ore), the development of two additional open-pits (Jiaoyan and South pits) and the expansion of the underground mining operation. Total production is planned to increase from its current production rate of 1.8 Mt to 16.5 Mt/y of ROM ore. Metal concentrate will be sold to smelters within China.

The company has the results of an updated NI 43-101 compliant, independent feasibility study for the Phase II Expansion of its Jiama copper-polymetallic mine in Tibet Autonomous Region, China. Mining One has produced the NI 43-101 compliant report based on the Phase II Expansion project feasibility study, prepared by the Changchun Gold Design Institute in conjunction with independent consulting engineers and the company’s management.

The Jiama project is a large scale polymetallic (Cu, Mo, Au, Ag, Pb, Zn) deposit located approximately 68 km east-northeast of Lhasa, the capital city of Tibet Autonomous Region, along the Sichuan-Tibet Highway within the Gangdise Copper Metallogeny Belt in Central Tibet, China and represents one of China’s largest copper-gold mines.

Phase I of the Jiama Project commenced commercial production in September 2010 and included the development of the Tongqianshan and Niumatang open pits. These pits currently produce 1.8 Mt/y of run-of-mine (ROM) ore. The ore from these mines is processed via two processing plants with a combined processing capacity of 6,000 t/d of ore. The company plans to expand production capacity to 50,000 t/d (Phase II plant capacity) with the addition of a new floatation plant (44,000 t/d ore), the development of two additional open-pits (Jiaoyan and South pits) and the expansion of the underground mining operation. Total production is planned to increase from its current production rate of 1.8 Mt to 16.5 Mt/y of ROM ore. Metal concentrate will be sold to smelters within China.

European Union ponders guidelines for fracking of shale

BRUSSELS — The European Union (EU) plans guidelines for shale drilling, under proposals that may facilitate oil and gas extraction using the contested technique that has brought the US towards energy independence.

The 28 member governments will be urged to follow the nonbinding principles so that hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, is done safely and without confusion over conflicting environmental regulations among states and the bloc, according to draft recommendations seen by Bloomberg. The guidelines would not interfere with a country’s right to ban the practice.

Investors and explorers have expressed concern that shale prospects may become too difficult to tap compared with places such as the US and Russia because European countries are making a jumble of new laws. France’s Total, banned from fracking at home, on Monday became the largest oil producer to enter the UK’s shale industry.

“As shale-gas exploration activities are progressing, member states have started interpreting the EU environmental legislation in different ways” including bans and moratoriums, the European Commission said in a draft statement to governments to accompany the guidelines. The EU needs a level playing field to respond to a “fast-evolving energy landscape,” it said.

A commission spokesman was not available for comment on the documents, which are due to be adopted by the EU’s regulatory arm on January 22.

The proposal will be part of a package of documents on energy and climate policies to be considered by EU governments.

Telestack bulk material handling range at CONEXPO-CON/AGG

Telestack is to display some of its mobile bulk material handling equipment at CONEXPO-CON/AGG 2014 In Las Vegas, which is being attended by IM. This will be Telestack’s third time at the show as an exhibitor and since its first visit in 2008 it has sold over 140 machines and counting in the North American market as well as building on introductions at previous shows. On display this time will be three machines that are new to the North American market. The factory sales and technical teams will be on hand to meet with existing and potential dealers and customers as well as potential new dealers and customers. The exhibit will include the world launch of the latest model in the Telestack tracked mobile hopper feeder range.

This unit has been developed in response to feedback from dealers and customers and can be used in a multitude of applications from reclaiming in mines, quarries and ports to loading mineral barges on inland river networks. Also on display will be the latest generation in its tracked radial range. The TC424R incorporates a number of design/performance improvements that have come from customer input over the past two years. The company states: “In many applications, this range from Telestack is becoming more popular than traditional track conveyors as it allows customers to combine the benefits of track mobility for ease of moving around the site/moving from site to site, being able to build radial stockpiles from one fixed position without having to reposition the crusher/screener thus reducing downtime and wheel loader operating costs, and also being able to operate the unit using the PLC program to reduce segregation/degradation and keep dust levels to a minimum. In fact a lot of the time the Telestack TC Radial range will do all that the operator needs a radial telescopic unit to do, but at a much lower capital cost.” The third unit on display is the new water-cooled TC 420 X which is the first of this new design to arrive in North America and replaces the successful previous model.

Videos and photos will display the rest of the Telestack family of equipment including radial telescopics, tracked mobile truck unloaders and tracked mobile link conveyors. In 2014, Telestack says it is looking forward to expanding its quarrying/mining customer base which includes Martin Marietta, Teichert, Vulcan, Tilcon, Oldcastle, CRH, Lafarge, Holcim, Cemex , Hanson Aggregates – Heidelberg, Iluka Resources and others. “We are proud to have been selling equipment in North America since 2007 and our ‘best in the industry’ network of full service dealers ensures we are able to fully support our customers. Telestack are continually looking to expand our network of dealers in North America and the rest of the world and we invite any company with an interest in selling our equipment to visit our booth. Our equipment is operating all over the world, often in extreme and harsh conditions. This proven record of performance coupled with our ability to continually innovate mobile bulk material handling solutions to meet the requirements of our customers helps ensures that we will continue to expand our product offerings in the years ahead.”

New skills centre for the Hunter Valley

The Hunter Valley Training Company (HVTC) is opening a new $5 million Skills Centre at Rutherford.

Officially opening later this week, HVTC CEO Sharon Smith explained that the “new state-of-the-art Skills Centre will be the training ground for more than 50 apprentices in 2014, who will gain skills in a range of traditional trades highly sought after in mining and manufacturing”.

“With custom built facilities, we’ll be better able to meet the changing nature of training and provide.”

Smith went on to add “we’ll also be broadening our range of training to include specifically designed induction courses, safety training, and additional short courses for Australian industry”.

HVTC is opening the new facility as it has outgrown its current site.

DP World Highlights for 2013

2013 was a remarkable year for global marine terminal operator DP World. Despite challenging market conditions and uncertainties that impacted the industry, the company maintained its focus on improving efficiencies, expanding capacity, enhancing its position as one of the top industry leaders globally and driving profitability.

As a premier partner in the UAE’s successful bid to host Expo 2020 in Dubai, DP World played, through its global portfolio, an instrumental role in taking the message across the world.

The year began and ended on a positive note for the company:


– DP World launched ‘Dreams of the Sea’, a major interactive project that for the first time ever collects the stories of those involved in Dubai and the UAE’s maritime history into an on-line archive available to all.

“Dreams of the Sea: The Dubai Maritime History Project” is centred on a bilingual interactive website (www.dreamsofthesea.ae) that holds video interviews, photos and first-hand accounts of people involved in the city and the nation’s maritime history – from pearl divers and fishermen to historians and business leaders.

The project was officially launched on January 14 with the formal opening of an exhibition at the Dubai Heritage Village in the Shindaga Historical Area.

It also includes the launch of a book in Arabic and in English capturing the dreams and memories of those who witnessed and were part of the development of Dubai from a shelter for ships to a vibrant modern city that is the centre for trade for the region and an active player on the world stage.

DP World set a new milestone when its Dubai ports handled their 100 millionth container in the decade 2003 to 2013.

The 100 million TEU (twenty foot equivalent container units) record was achieved between January 2003 and January 2013 and covered all container boxes handled in both Mina Rashid and Jebel Ali Port. DP World, UAE Region’s annual container throughput increased more than 150% over the decade, from around five million TEU in 2003 to 13.3 million TEU in 2012.

In all, the two container ports have handled 135 million TEU since the opening of Jebel Ali Port in 1979, around 75% of it since 2003.

DP World’s flagship Jebel Ali Port, the largest man-made harbour in the world, welcomed the maiden visit of the world’s largest containership at the time, CMA CGM Marco Polo, owned by the CMA CGM Group.

This milestone reinforces Dubai’s and the port’s role as a regional gateway for the new generation of mega vessels.


Giant cranes taller than the London Eye sailed into the Thames Estuary and berthed at the UK’s new global shipping port, DP World’s London Gateway, at the end of a two-month sea voyage from China. The London Eye could be rolled underneath the three new cranes, which measure 138 metres tall at full height.

Weighing 2,000 tonnes each, the cranes are taller than Wembley Stadium’s arch and two-and-a-half times the height of Nelson’s Column. They are the first in the UK to be able to lift four containers at once, which means the world’s largest ships will be loaded and unloaded more efficiently in future.

DP World’s Vallarpadam terminal received its first transhipment mainline service, becoming India’s first and only transhipment hub.

This followed the Indian government waiving cabotage regulations for the terminal, which until then had prevented mainline services transhipping at Vallarpadam, instead making lines transfer to local carriers. The law was changed based on DP World’s efforts to make Vallarpadam a hub port for India and the region.

The International Container Transhipment Terminal (ICTT), also known as DP World Cochin, will be part of the new port rotation of the Asia-Indian Subcontinent-East Med (AME) service connecting China to the Mediterranean via the Indian subcontinent, with Cochin being the first port of call in India from China.


DP World announced the successful completion of the largest dredging programme at its flagship Jebel Ali Port in 10 years as part of the expansion project of Terminal 2.

In total, 477,000 cubic metres of soil have been dredged from 2900 metres of quay wall at the roll-on roll-off (roro) vehicle carrier terminal, the tanker terminal and three container berths. The dredging deepened the draught of the roro and tanker berths from -10.5 to -11.5 metres while container berths 14, 16 and 17 were extended from -14 to -16 metres.


Opening of the new extension to Container Terminal 2 (T2) at flagship Jebel Ali Port

The expansion adds 1 million TEU to take capacity at Jebel Ali Port to 15 million TEU, extending the T2 quay wall by 400 metres to 3,000 metres. This allows the simultaneous handling of six mega ships. Together with Container Terminal 3, which is now under construction, Jebel Ali Port will reach 19 million TEU capacity in 2014 and will be able to handle 10 of the giant new generation vessels at the same time – the only port in the region able to do so.

Marks & Spencer (M&S) and DP World London Gateway jointly announced that M&S will build a major new distribution centre at the new deep-sea container port and logistics park on the Thames in South Essex, just 25 miles from central London

The announcement marked a major milestone in the development of the 1,500-acre site located adjacent to DP World London Gateway. It provides a unique port centric logistics platform which will simplify supply chains for cargo and freight forwarders reducing costs and carbon emissions.

DP World and Jawaharlal Nehru Port held a ceremonial signing of the concession awarded to DP World to construct and operate a new container terminal at the port.

The new 330 metre berth with 27 hectares of yard will add 800,000 TEUs of container capacity and help ease congestion at Jawaharlal Nehru Port. DP World will invest around US$200 million to build the terminal adjacent to the Nhava Sheva International Container Terminal (NSICT), which DP World currently operates.


DP World, UAE Region officially rolled out a new initiative that uses smartphone mobile applications to integrate its entire range of customer services at Jebel Ali Port.

The smart new approach to boost productivity and enhance operational efficiencies for imports and exports passing through the DP World flagship facility was unveiled on the opening day of the GITEX Technology Week in Dubai.


DP World and Kazakhstan Temir Zholy (KTZ), Kazakhstan’s national railway company, signed an agreement that will see DP World provide management advisory services for the development of the Khorgos Special Economic Zone (SEZ) and Inland Container Depot (ICD). DP World will also provide similar services under a separate contract at the Port of Aktau, Kazakhstan’s main cargo and bulk terminal on the Caspian Sea.

The two agreements support Kazakhstan’s plans to transform and modernise its transport and logistics infrastructure to develop its strategic position as part of a New Silk Way rail-land bridge between the manufacturing hubs of China, and consumer markets in Central Asia and Europe.

DP World London Gateway deep-sea port celebrated the arrival of first scheduled vessel, the ‘MOL Caledon’ from South Africa after more than a decade of planning and construction across three square miles of development.

Providing British exporters and importers with a more efficient way to ship globally, at less cost, DP World London Gateway is located closer to major population centres of London, Birmingham and Manchester than other ports that are capable of handling the world’s biggest ships. Once fully operational, London Gateway will create 36,000 jobs and contribute £3.2bn to UK GDP annually (Source: Oxford Economics).

2013 also saw initial volumes handled at Embraport terminal located within Brazil’s largest port, Santos, near Sao Paulo The one million TEU capacity Empresa Brasileira de Terminais Portuários (Embraport) is the largest private multi-modal marine terminal in the city of Santos. It has been built adjacent to Porto de Santos, which is the biggest Brazilian container port with 90% of its cargo destined for the local São Paulo market. There is excellent road and rail connectivity to the site.

Thought leadership

In April DP World announced the launch of the TURN8 seed accelerator programme designed to encourage innovative entrepreneurship worldwide, starting with Dubai.

TURN8 looks for people with ingenious ideas that can be refined and brought to market through a “seed accelerator,” a programme that selects start-up teams with marketable ideas and supports them with funding, mentoring and training in exchange for a stake in any resulting business.

In October Turn8 unveiled the final 10 innovative ideas bidding to be developed into commercially-viable businesses.

The 10 teams of two are being supported with funding, mentoring and training in Dubai in exchange for a stake in any resulting business under TURN8, the region’s only programme that offers cradle-to-commercialisation support for innovative start-ups.

In October, Turn8 organised a 1-day seminar on start-up funding options led by Brent Traidman, a Venture Partner with Fenox Venture Capital of San Jose, California.

In November TURN8 embarked on a second round of its programme looking for entrepreneurship and innovation.

CSC Leaders for Students

In September DP World joined forces with international leadership development organisation, Common Purpose in hosting the four-day CSCLeaders for Students, an international leadership development conference.

More than 90 students from 25 countries took part in the conference. The group included 18 UAE nationals drawn from universities across the UAE.

CSCLeaders for Students is a series of student conferences held in major cities where significant numbers of students from across the Commonwealth study. They bring together young people studying in the host city to tackle a significant challenge and build networks for the future.

Counter Piracy Conference

In September DP World joined hands with the UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Abu Dhabi Ports Company to co-convene the 3rd public-private international counter-piracy conference.

It was attended by around 750 government and industry leaders, including more than 20 minister-level government officials, who pledged their continued support for sustainable capacity building in Somalia that would lead to meaningful, long term solutions to eradicate maritime piracy, who pledged their continued support for sustainable capacity building in Somalia that would lead to meaningful, long term solutions to eradicate maritime piracy.

The conference, held for the first time in 2011, is a reflection of the commitment of the UAE to bring together all stakeholders affected by piracy. Forging this important dialogue involving governments and industry is an important vehicle to strengthen public-private partnership in the common fight against maritime piracy.


In February: DP World, UAE Region was for the second time recognised in the prestigious Dubai Awards for Sustainable Transport (DAST) initiated by the Roads and Transport Authority (RTA).

For the second consecutive year, the largest regional port operator was honoured for its work in improving the efficiency of the supply chain and the environment, winning the second prize in the Environmental Protection category for its “Sustainable Port Transport Fleet” project, which aims to reduce energy and fuel consumption, CO2 emissions, and waste.

In March: DP World, UAE Region won the UAE’s Terminal Operator Company of The Year category from Frost & Sullivan

DP World, UAE Region also won the Best Sea Port of the year at the first Trade and Export Middle East Excellence Awards.

In May: DP World won the prestigious Golden Peacock Award for Business Excellence for 2013 for its professionalism and quality operations across its five marine terminals in India.

The annual award was presented at a ceremony in Dubai in recognition of DP World’s business practices in India. It marks the third year running that the company has won a Golden Peacock Award.

Also in May, DP World’s flagship Jebel Ali Port was named “Shipping Port of the Year” at the prestigious annual Supply Chain and Transport Awards (SCATA) 2013.

It is Jebel Ali’s fifth SCATA award in seven years. Organised by ITP, the annual SCATA awards are a celebration of the Middle East logistics industry’s achievements over the past 12 months. They recognise outstanding regional and international companies, in 16 categories covering the logistics, sea freight and air cargo sectors.

In November: DP World was named the Best Performing Company in the UAE and awarded the prestigious Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Business Award for Most Outstanding Performance for 2013.

DP World, UAE Region was one of the 16 recipients of the Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Business Award presented this year, in addition to the Outstanding Performance Award.

Also in November DP World won the award for Best Investor Relations Team for Corporate Governance – Middle East

The award was presented at the fifth Middle East Investor Relations Society (ME-IR Society) Annual Conference and Awards Ceremony held in Dubai and supported by Dubai Financial Market and Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange. The Annual Conference and Awards ceremony is the Society’s flagship event and recognizes the efforts of those regional companies and IR professionals who play a critical role in developing IR.

In November DP World, UAE Region won the prestigious Container Terminal Operator Award for a fifth consecutive year at the Seatrade Middle East & Indian Subcontinent Awards 2013 in Dubai.

The judging panel chose the operator of Jebel Ali Port for its all-round operational excellence, a dynamic approach to creating a smart port, throughput performance, efficient automation systems and other value-adding services.

In December DP World won the coveted “Excellence in Financial Reporting” Award at the Middle East Accountancy & Finance Excellence Awards.

The Middle East Accountancy & Finance Excellence Awards are organised by the Institute of Chartered Accountants of England & Wales (ICAEW) – a world leader in the accountancy and finance profession with over 140,000 members across the globe. The awards were launched in 2011 to celebrate the very best in the accountancy and finance profession in the Middle East.

Also in December DP World operated Mina Rashid in Dubai was voted the World’s Leading Cruise Port for the sixth consecutive year at the prestigious World Travel Awards 2013, acknowledged as the ultimate travel industry accolade.

Mina Rashid, which began life as the region’s first modern container port more than 40 years ago, competed and won against cruise ports from around the world, including Singapore, the Seychelles, Turkey, Mexico, Jamaica, Brazil, South Africa and the United States.

Africa to standardise mining policies

PLANS are underway to standardise mining policies in Africa to enable countries fully reap from their mineral resources, Minister of Mines, Energy and Water Development Christopher Yaluma said.
Mr Yaluma said African countries are expected to form an alliance that will standardise the mining system to deter some companies from exploiting mineral-rich nations.
“Zambia, like many other countries, has not maximised benefits from the mineral resource. We have come together to look into ways of ensuring that the same mining standards are applied everywhere so that, if say, Zambia turns down a mining prospector, [the investor] will not go to Zimbabwe or Angola because the standards will be the same,” he said.
Mr Yaluma said in an interview recently that the development will enable citizens benefit from mineral wealth because mining companies will abide by the set standards.
He said Government remains committed to putting in place measures that will ensure a win-win situation for mining firms and citizens.
“Local content should be at play where investors use locally manufactured equipment and engage locals as suppliers of goods and services,” he said.
Mr Yaluma said the recently revised mineral resources development policy will go a long way in increasing participation of Zambians in the mining sector.
The mineral resources development policy, which replaced the 1995 mining policy, will increase participation of Zambians in the sector as mine owners, suppliers and employees.
He said the mineral resources development policy will re-orient the sector to create a competitive, thriving and sustainable industry that will benefit both the investors and people of Zambia.

Mintails commits to limiting impact of mining activities on communities

ASX-listed Mintails has committed to further limiting the impact of its mining activities on local communities, while a task team has been established to determine the cause of damage to houses near the West Rand-based mine.

Mintails said over the weekend that a meeting with Mineral Resources Minister Susan Shabangu on Friday had led to measures, including the implementation of enhanced noise and dust control and improved safety systems, being put in place to address complaints emerging from nearby communities.

Community members of Kagiso Extension One, near the mine, in Gauteng, have accused Mintails of undertaking blasting and other mining activities – without community consultation – that had resulted in dust fallout, noise and structural damage to houses and roads.

The Department of Mineral Resources (DMR) would appoint an independent team of technical experts to ascertain the cause of the damage and to what extent this was the result of mining activities.

“We are pleased that a scientific route will be used to make an objective determination in this regard,” the company said in a statement, reiterating its commitment to “make good on any impairment found to have been caused by the mining operations”.

In the interim, Mintails would halt blasting during overcast weather, which exacerbated dust and noise for nearby residents, cease percussion drilling between 20:00 and 07:00 and divert load-bearing trucks through alternative routes to stockpiles.

The company also promised to install a siren, similar to those used in other mining communities, alerting residents to imminent blasting activities.

Further, the safety berm currently surrounding the mining operations would be heightened to augment the safety of community members inadvertently entering the mining area and reduce the amount of noise emerging from the mining operations.

Video documentation and the capturing of seismic data for each blast would also be undertaken to ensure compliance and determine the potential of blasting to cause damage to permanent structures such as houses.

“Inspectors from the DMR regularly inspect Mintails’ operations and compliance and, as part of [its] regulatory monitoring, will ensure that the above measures are undertaken,” the company said.

The mine had not been asked by the DMR to cease operations while the investigations were under way.