Daring gold robbery doesn’t tarnish SA top performers’ glow
IT READS like a movie script: a group of robbers acting with military precision attacked isolated open-pit mine Kalgold in North West, making off with 12kg of unrefined gold worth R6.25 million this week.
In what has been described as a daring military- style robbery, the group of about eight intruders, armed with military rifles and explosives, ambushed and tied up security personnel outside the mine entrance on Wednesday.
They proceeded to the plant, where they gained access to the smelt house by blasting open the doors with explosives, according to Harmony Gold spokesperson Sihle Maake.
There were no fatalities at the isolated mine surrounded by farmland in the Kraaipan Greenstone Belt, 55km southwest of Mahikeng, along the N18 in North West.
Interestingly, South African mining companies were recognised as some of the “top performers”in the aptly-named inaugural Responsible Mining Index (RMI) 2018.
The RMI, covering 30 companies from 16 countries, chose Anglo American as the overall winner in the economic development of countries where the multinational operates.
Still on the lucrative mining front, Statistics South Africa said that mining production had increased 2.4% year-onyear in January and above market expectations of a 1% gain. The statistics agency said the output had increased faster for iron ore, non-metallic minerals and diamonds, but slowed for platinum metals groups, manganese ore and building materials.
This week’s other noteworthy events pertained to power utility Eskom applying to the National Energy Regulator of South Africa to allow it to claw back R66 billion for the 2014/15, 2015/16, and 2016/17 financial years.
Eskom applied for a regulatory clearing account to recoup the money in order to ease its liquidity problems. But if granted, this could see electricity prices soaring further as the country draws nearer to the winter months.
Meanwhile, another backbreaking sector, agriculture, also made it to the weekly round-up after JSE-listed Kaap Agri announced that its revenue increased by 5.1% for the six months to end March to R3.42 billion.
This was up from R3.26bn recorded during the corresponding period last year, despite the damaging drought ravaging parts of Sub-Saharan Africa, which has impacted its agri-retail sales.
The South African Reserve Bank was also the bearer of good news this week, saying the economy was on its way to recovery.
Its bi- annual Monetary Policy Review forecasts indicate growth in the medium term, but warned the absence of meaningful reforms would curb it 2%.
The central bank recently revised its growth forecasts to 1.4% this year from 1.2%.