Dar­ing gold rob­bery doesn’t tar­nish SA top per­form­ers’ glow

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - BUSINESS - LUY­OLO MKENTANE

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%.

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