Regional News

Zim could capitalize on SA mine problems

PLATINUM MINE CLOSURES IN SA BOON FOR ZIMBABWE
Harare June 28, 2012 (New Ziana) –Challenges afflicting platinum miners in South Africa could provide an opportunity for Zimbabwe to increase production of the white metal, an international expert has said.
The world’s biggest platinum mine in Rustenburg, owned by Impala Platinum, was hit by industrial action that halted operations for six weeks early this year costing the company at least 120 000 ounces in lost production.
Another miner Aquarius Platinum announced that it would close its Everest mine only days after it announced the closure of its Marikina mine.
Royal Bafokeng also came out saying that they were going back to the markets to raise more funds for its operations.
In a recent report, Mitsui and Co Precious Metals strategic analyst David Jollie said mines in South Africa would be hard pressed mainly due to escalating operating expenses.
“There are a lot of things going on, but the major issue is cost pressures, and you can see some of those are because we are looking at first generation mines which are becoming more expensive to operate,” he said.
“You can see wage increases, you can see all sorts of things, and that is in an environment where you have got weak commodity prices at the moment that has just made life quite difficult.”
Mitsui and Co is a US based trader of precious metals and is a full member of the London Platinum and Palladium Market as well as the London Bullion Market Association.
Jollie said the situation obtaining in South Africa would provide leverage for countries like Zimbabwe to maximize production.
He said more mine closures were likely to happen in South Africa mostly due to high operating costs unlike in Zimbabwe where costs were marginally lower.
“Zimbabwe clearly is one of the major areas where you could see growth.
“I think there are price pressures and you can certainly see that in Zimbabwe, but they are not quite at the same level and part of it is because really these are not in many cases first generation mines that are becoming less attractive to mine,” he said.
Zimbabwe is the third largest platinum producer in the world after South Africa and Russia.
Currently there are three mines operating in Zimbabwe namely Zimplats, Mimosa and Unki platinum mine.
Platinum accounts for at least 36 percent of the country's total mineral production with about 230 000 tonnes of the white metal having been exported in 2010.
Although there is a global platinum surplus of about 735 000 ounces, prices are expected to hover around $ 1 475 to $1 775 an ounce over the remainder of this year.
Platinum and its sister metal palladium are mostly used in motor vehicle catalytic converters and jewellery manufacturing.
New Ziana

President Mugabe blasts South African judge

PRESIDENT CASTIGATES SOUTH AFRICAN JUDGE
Harare June 8, 2012 (New Ziana) -President Robert Mugabe said on Friday said South African High Court judge Hans Fabricius who ruled that Pretoria should investigate alleged atrocities in Zimbabwe represented the interests of the former colonial powers.
He was addressing delegates at the on- going meeting of secretary generals of former liberation movements.
President Mugabe described the court ruling as ‘outrageous’ and likened him to the SADC Tribunal, which has since been disbanded.
“It constitutes a direct assault on our sovereignty by shameless forces afflicted by racist nostalgia,” he said.
He said such judges represented the interests of Africa’s former colonizers.
“Needless to say is that these are Rhodesian forces, we are still with them, they are in our country here,” he said.
Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa dismissed the ruling, saying South Africa did not have the right to investigate cases in Zimbabwe.
“International law to this judge had seized to exist which forbids that one country has no extra territorial right to go into another country and try by any means to get its own rule of laws implemented in that country,” said President Mugabe.
Fabricius ruled that South Africa must investigate Zimbabwean officials over allegations they tortured opposition people in 2007, this was to be done under the International Criminal Court of which South Africa is a party and Zimbabwe is not.
President Mugabe urged the ANC to watch out for efforts by former colonizers to reverse the gains of the liberation struggle.
“I urge ANC to strictly observe the actions of those we have forgiven. Give ear to the music they sing, that music might be dangerous, their words might be treasonous and their actions might be harmful,” he said.
New Ziana

African Diamond body blasts KPCS

ADC TAKES A SWIPE AT KPCS
Harare June 7, 2012 (New Ziana) -Operations of the Kimberly Process Certification Scheme (KPCS) are severely compromised as it is controlled by Western powers keen on protecting their own interests, the African Diamond Council (ADC) has said.
The ADC has a membership of 12 diamond producing nations including Angola, DRC, Botswana and Zimbabwe.
In a statement, ADC chairman Andre’ Jackson said since the KP was not an international ‘organisation’, it was open to unjustifiable permeation and manipulation by those presently administering it.
“The existing structure imparts an elevated level of influence to those who may not have direct access to all that is currently ravaging the front-end of the African diamond industry,” he said.
Jackson said since the KP administration relied on the offerings of its participants, it was more often financed by the rear or back-end of the industry together with several civil society observers who tended to benefit significantly from the trade.
He said the KP scheme had been more successful at undermining itself as well as everything that it had hoped to effectively stand for since its inception.
Jackson accused the US in particular of meddling in the African diamond trade.
He however pointed out that the US was quickly losing stranglehold on the diamond trade with China emerging as the biggest consumer of the gems.
Jackson said it was time for diamond producing African countries to
stand up and reject Wwestern attempts to continue their control on the diamond trade.
He said the KP had been compromised and now lacked legitimacy, adding that it had also negated its primary role of ensuring a globally effective diamond certification scheme.
“In addition the existing system has never achieved any bona fide victory in tracking stones from mine to consumer; it does not prevent “diamonds being mined as a result of human suffering.”
The KP is currently meeting in Washington DC, United States of America where delegates shot down attempts to redefine the definition of blood diamonds which was targeted at the Marange stones.
Mines and Mining Development Minister Obert Mpofu is attending the meeting.
The troubled international body, charged with preventing the trade in conflict diamonds, has been rocked by allegations of biased decisions towards Western countries while subjugating African states since its inception in 2003.
Last year the London-based NGO Global Witness withdrew its KP membership in protest over a decision to allow Zimbabwe to market its gems.
New Ziana

ACBF extends US$13 million grants to Zim and South Sudan

AFRICAN CAPACITY BUILDING FOUNDATION EXTENDS US $13 MILLION GRANT TO ZIM & SUDAN
Harare June 6, 2012 (New Ziana)-The African Capacity Building Foundation (ACBF) on Wednesday extended five grants to the tune of US$13 million for various capacity development projects in Zimbabwe and South Sudan.
Zimbabwe received a total of US $ 10.8 million for two regional and two national projects while Southern Sudan was allocated US $ 2.25 million for its South Sudan Capacity Building Project (SSCBP).
The two regional programs in Zimbabwe are the Women’s University in Africa (WUA) and the Africa University (AU) which received US$3 million and US$800 000 respectively.
The Ministry of Regional Integration and International Cooperation received US$ 2 million which is expected to improve its internal efficiency and effectiveness in delivering its mandate.
The Ministry of Economic Planning and Investment Promotion, The Ministry of Public Service and the Zimbabwe Institute of Public Administration and Management (ZIPAM) under the Zimbabwe Capacity Development Program (ZCDP) where allocated another grant of US 5 million.
Speaking at the grant signing ceremony ACBF executive secretary Frannie Leautier said the ZCDP is expected to strengthen the economic management capabilities of the government to successfully implement the Medium Term Plan (MTP).
“We are pleased to indicate that this program supports the implementation capacity to monitor the government’s Medium Term Plan, and building capacities to scale up implementation of public financial management”.
“The program supports government’s efforts to build and develop Ministerial staff through strengthening the core responsibility of ZIPAM,” she said.
Leautier said the ACBF would continue to support capacity where it saw innovation, results and individual skills that enabled the development of effective policies and institutions that would long save the future generations of Africa.
The ACBF is an African institution working with African governments and the international donor community in building sustainable capacity for good governance and poverty reduction on the continent.
ACBF and Zimbabwe have shared cordial ties dating back to its establishment in 1991.
To date ACBF has invested up to US$26 million dollars in various capacity building initiatives in Zimbabwe.
New Ziana

Transboundary waters key to regional integration

TRANSBOUNDARY WATERS KEY TO REGIONAL SOCIO-ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT
Harare June 6, 2012 (New Ziana) – Efficient management of transboundary waters for the benefit of all basin states enhances regional cooperation resulting in socio- economic development and integration, a cabinet Minister said on Tuesday.
Water Resources Development and Management Minister Sipepa Nkomo said this while officially opening a two day Southern African Development Community (SADC) 5th River Basin Organizations workshop in Harare.
Nkomo said cooperation could be promoted and enhanced by laws and agreements on a bilateral or multilateral level.
“The fact that water cannot be substituted by other resources, leads, in part to the need for long term cooperation between states over its management and development,” he said.
He said when managed cooperatively for the benefit of all basin states, the waters had potential contribution towards regional peace.
“That offers a forum where disputes can be discussed and amicably settled leading to a sustainable development of shared water resources.”
Nkomo said a shared management of river basins could become the foundation on which future regional economic growth and prosperity could rely.
“When South Africa joined SADC in 1994, the first Protocol to be signed in terms of the SADC Founding Charter was that on Shared Watercourse Systems,” he said.
He said the Protocol became the foundation for regional cooperation in water resources management and economic growth.
Nkomo emphasized need for speedy implementation of all agreed action points regarding operations of river basins.
Speaking at the same workshop SADC director of infrastructure and services Remigious Makumbe said discourse had become a culture for the region.
“It is my understanding that the workshop will focus on the monitoring of the implementation of the SADC Protocol on shared Water Courses guiding us as we navigate into the future,” he said.
Makumbe said the River Basin Organizations were appropriate institutions for planning and implementing strategic Transboundary water infrastructure.
“Strengthening of these institutions demands utmost priority given that they are the pertinent vehicles for implementation and management of the agreed basin-wide projects and programmes,” he said.
The workshop will deliberate on monitoring of the implementation of the SADC Protocol on Shared Watercourses, whose objective is to foster closer cooperation for judicious, sustainable and co-odinated management, protection and utilization of shared watercourses as well as advance the SADC agenda of regional integration and poverty alleviation.
Zimbabwe is a signatory to the Protocol signed in 2000.
Over 200 delegates are attending the workshop.
New Ziana

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