Modern Quarrying

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ModernQuarrying JanFeb 2017JCB Construction Equipment is in the process of launching two formidable machines to market: the JS305 LC tracked excavator and the 455ZX wheeled loading shovel. These machines have been manufactured at JCB’s state-of-the-art facility in India and are designed to be easy to operate, easy to maintain and to move more material at less cost.

Is our 150th year of mining truly a triumph?

As a lover of history and this includes mining history, I am currently reading Jade Davenport’s book Digging Deep – a history of mining in South Africa – which is a story of how mining gave rise to modern South Africa.

It is hard to believe that before the advent of the great mineral revolution in the latter part of the 19th century, we were a sleepy colonial backwater with a landscape seemingly devoid of any economic potential; while, lying just beneath the dusty surface of the land, lay the richest treasure trove of gold, diamonds, platinum, coal and a host of other metals and minerals that have ever been discovered in one country.

Which brings me to Cape Town’s 23rd annual Mining Indaba and Anglo American CEO Mark Cutifani’s address in particular. He says that the next three to four months will be among the most important in the 150-year history of mining in South Africa.

The stage is set. “We need to do things differently to find a new, safe, responsible and cost-effective way to mine the ore bodies to meet the needs of a rapidly urbanising global population.

Talking about the notion of white monopoly capital, he says in today’s world capital has no colour, “it is a powerful tool that can help create a better world for all.

He was referring to the SA President’s recent comment that he wouldn’t bow to white monopoly capital amid claims that he was receiving advice from ‘outside business interests’ on various cabinet appointments. “Many people still don’t understand that the owners of most South African publicly-listed mining companies are not the Randlords or magnates of previous generations, but rather ordinary pension and investment fund owners – that is, average South African citizens of all races: black, white, coloured and Indian.”

The Minister of Mineral Resources Mosebenzi Zwane filled the hall for his keynote address, but although his speech was conciliatory towards the mining industry this third mines minister in as many years, once again reinforced government’s commitment to beneficiation – without admitting that this is a challenge that cannot be addressed by the mining sector alone and that almost everything government-related is constantly working against the practicalities of setting up new businesses or enabling businesses to operate.

He used the very outdated cliché that mining in SA is open for business while as was the case last year, his department has been committed to dates in which the revised Mining Charter and the MPRDA are to be finalised, even while their content is still shrouded in uncertainty.

As Cutifani says: “For investors, it goes without saying that regulatory certainty and the sanctity of private ownership under the constitution is paramount. They need to know that their capital is invested in a jurisdiction that has clear, fair and reasonable prescripts on the regulation of mining.”

And to quote Jade Davenport: “The mining industry is currently operating under a legislative framework riddled with irregularities and ambiguities.”

Sadly, I believe that despite the fact that the industry as a whole has bent over backwards to meet government demands, it seems set on imposing a revised mining charter containing unrealistic targets, and is bent on extracting its pound of flesh regardless of the cost in lost output and jobs. Sadly, mining in its 150th anniversary should be a cause for celebration and a not cause for threat. Download the PDF.

Dale Kelly

More in this issue

Weir Minerals increases capacity at OMV: Looking at several solutions in terms of its plant, OMV Stilfontein has partnered up with Weir Minerals Africa for an upgrade of its sand wash plant. With optimisation, the plant is getting 14 t/hour more in the cyclone underflow, which reports as a saleable product. Read more..

Owner vs contract miner: This issue’s Special Report focuses on a paper by Steven Rupprecht, a senior lecturer at the University of Johannesburg, which reviews some of the better-known arguments about contractor vs owner mining. Read more...

Building a quarrying legacy on trust: In our Supplier Spotlight, we look at a three-decade long relationship between a large-scale equipment supplier and a family-run quarrying operation, which has become a prime case study in the establishment of a successful symbiotic business. Read more...

Optimising hauling efficiencies: The Equipment, Products & Services lead feature deals with load and haul, which is often the biggest fixed and variable cost for any quarry operation. In this regard, Scania is offering a cost-effective hauling solution that significantly reduces operating costs. Read more...

Aspasa provides comprehensive training: In our regulate Aspasa Update, we look at the hard work the Association is doing in improving workforce skills for its members. Read more...

MQ’s Around the Industry and Supplier Focus pages deal with news and events happening throughout the industry and the equipment, products and services available in the quarrying sector.

Contact Modern Quarrying

Title: Editor
Name: Munesu Shoko
Phone: (011) 622-4770

Title: Advertising Manager
Name: Bennie Venter
Phone: (011) 622-4770
Fax: (011) 615-6108

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