Who to see, what to hear
A rough guide to some of the more interesting presentations
ANGLO AMERICAN, BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto are some of the names of the presenting companies on the first morning of the Indaba Mining Conference, the most fully attended part of the three-day event. Those major diversified companies will be joined by Gold Fields and Harmony Gold, as well as Randgold Resources, Barrick Gold, Newmont Mining and AngloGold Ashanti. Together, they comprise the cream of the world’s publicly listed mining industry.
However, to be honest some presentations are dessicated investor relations exercises; others coma inducing. So it might be worth considering the potential merits of less favoured presentation slots. So allow us to direct you to some “off-the-beatentrack” gems. Tuesday, 11.40am: President of Tanzania, JAKAYA KIKWETE AS WE ALL KNOW, politicians can be a big yawn. But this one looks like a presentation worth hearing. In a two-part speech, Kikwete will first address questions about whether his country’s Minerals & Energy Department will impose more stringent levies and taxes, as has been suggested.
There’s also some speculation of tension between central government and its mines department on the matter. Kikwete, a former mines minister, may clear that up.
In the second half of his speech Kikwete will tackle how Africa can best extract value from offshore investment were he president of the United States of Africa. Tuesday, 1.50pm – MARTIN MURENBEELD, Dundee Group of companies THE FUTURE for the gold market is perhaps the most hotly debated item in the mining industry worldwide. Murenbeeld is a world-renowned commentator on the question but not a frequent attendee at this conference. (You’d normally find him at the Denver Gold Forum in September.) Wednesday, 2.30pm – MARTYN DAVIES, CEO Emerging Markets Focus
Expect Murenbeeld to provide his scenarios concerning the gold market but also – to broaden the topic – anchoring the future of gold in the behaviour of currencies. Specifically, Murenbeeld will show how the behaviour of the euro and the US dollar affects the gold price. Wednesday, 9.30am – JAN VESTRUM, CEO & President Crew Gold FOR AN INSIGHT into a unique gold story this presentation might be worth a quick visit. Vestrum will speak on producing gold in Greenland, which is an alternative gloss on the logistics of difficult mining – something with which African miners are well acquainted. PERHAPS IN SIMILAR vein to the Tanzanian president, Davies will be tackling how best Africa can benefit from the massive investment of China, in particular, in the continent’s natural resources.
Of the US$50bn in China-African trade in 2006, the surplus was in favour of China. According to Stanley Subramoney, deputy CEO of PricewaterhouseCoopers (China and Africa), and who has conducted work on the topic, that needs to be addressed. Take Angola, which has already been afforded $2bn in credit by the Chinese and which has invested $1,4bn in its oil fields. How inexperienced African governments deal with that scale of investment is a question worth asking. Thursday, 9.30am – GREG KINROSS, CEO CIC Energy CIC ENERGY’S Greg Kinross is presenting. His exact material is unknown, but this could be a good opportunity to acquire an insight into potential investment by SA power utility Eskom in the Waterberg coal deposit, on which CIC Energy’s Mmamabula project borders.
CIC Energy is backed by Tau Capital, a Canadian business, which was behind the creation of AfriOre – the company Lonmin has offered to buy for US$441m. It will be interesting to see what CIC Energy plans for the $5bn Mmamabula project. Thursday, 9.50am – JONATHAN BENCNAAN, CFO Bateman Engineering BATEMAN – voted the best listing on London’s Alternative Investment Market last year – recently scooped the US$408m engineering, procurement and construction of Equinox Minerals’ Lumwana project in Zambia.
Being so close to the project pipeline, Bateman is therefore often a barometer of fortunes in the future supply of metals. For example, it has reportedly taken new orders to US$500m – 185% year-on-year ahead of the $308m secured in its financial year ended June.
There’s also talk that it will clinch a $531m contract with Russia’s largest diamond miner, Alrosa.