A Taste of Southern Africa’s Mining Environment

GBR explores the Southern African region where mineral riches tempt and political risk deters.

By Lindsay Davis

IMAGE: Vermeer

Long considered a regional and global mining powerhouse, South Africa has been engulfed by a series of political shocks and economic underperformance that have taken a significant toll on its position as Southern Africa’s leader in the extractives industry. Amid a backdrop of recession and accusations of corruption, in August ,President Jacob Zuma narrowly survived the eighth no-confidence motion held against him in parliament, underlining a country swirling with political dissent. Backed by President Zuma as part of his economic agenda to introduce stricter Black Economic Empowerment (BEE) rules, the new Mining Charter III now requires local mines be 30% black-owned at all times. South Africa’s Chamber of Mines, which represents over 90% of the country’s mining companies, has taken the government to court over the matter, and will argue that the charter constitutes an infringement on company law, international agreements and the constitution. Continue reading

Zambia: The Strengthening Pulse of the Copperbelt

Zambia’s mining industry is showing robust health despite difficult years of low prices, power shortages and fiscal uncertainties.

By Lindsay Davis

IMAGE: Vermeer

Long lauded as one of the more peaceful nations in the Southern Africa region, Zambia’s historic association with political stability has undoubtedly contributed significantly to its attractiveness as a destination for foreign investment. When the late 1990s ushered in the privatization of the nation’s mining industry, copper production increased from 300,000 mt/y to a projected 800,000 mt/y by the end of 2017. Sustained international interest in Zambia’s wealth of resources in tangent with rising copper prices facilitated the country’s rise as a globally significant player in the commodity marketplace. Over the years, the nation’s geological prospectivity has drawn the attention of the likes of De Beers and Anglo American, and with the names of these powerhouses once again in the air, Zambia’s future appears to have taken on the luster of its famous emeralds. Continue reading

MACIG 2018 Pre-Release

Country: Africa Countries • Industry: Mining • Publication: Global Business Reports • Release Date: June 2017 • Authors: Eduardo Arcos, Lindsay Davis, Laura Brangwin

Executive Summary:

Rising commodity prices, particularly gold and copper, bring a more stable environment for producers and explorers globally. MACIG 2018 will recognise this year’s top ten destinations for mining investment and provide updates from new and existing projects as market sentiment improves. Exploration is on the return, with drill programs in the second half of the year hopefully bringing fruitful results in time for our September Pre-release, particularly in Francophone Africa.

In our 2017 African Mining Industry Survey, political stability and security were identified as the top factors to consider when entering a country in Africa. Potential changes in governance are never easy for decision-makers, and planned elections in top mining African destinations this year, including the DRC, Kenya and Angola, are bound to bring tension but also opportunities for the industry. We aim to analyse the balance between national interests and those of international investors by interviewing select stakeholders from across the board including government, producers, explorers, service and equipment providers, as well as executives from the finance community. In addition, we will invite all readers to participate in our 2018 African Mining Industry Survey and look forward to hearing your opinions.

The mining space in Africa is so dynamic, with risk factors and investment opportunities changing in each destination year on year that business intelligence remains a key tool for decision-makers to keep ahead of the game. Global Business Reports’ teams have returned to the continent this year to bring our readers the latest developments unique to each country and region in our MACIG 2018 publication launching next February as the annual official publication at the African Mining Indaba.

We will be looking into East Africa again, where the renewed appetite for exploration is being stifled to some extent by protectionism and legislative uncertainties as developing nations attempt to find a balance between attracting investment to their resources industries while ensuring maximum benefits for the indigenous economies. We also look into Ethiopia for the first time where we speak to the minister responsible for mining about his efforts to increase investments.

West Africa remains a pole of attraction, largely focused on gold, for explorers, which will ensure healthy growth for the industry providing infrastructural improvements can keep up. Ivory Coast is particularly attractive despite an episode of military unrest which failed to unsettle confidence in the country’s governance.

Governance remains a problem in some of the more mature mining jurisdictions that make up Southern Africa, particularly in South Africa, but here the industry is well established and has spent the last few years improving efficiencies so that mines are benefitting from improving commodity prices and seeing a more positive future.

Continue reading

Overcoming Adverse Conditions in Zimbabwe’s Mining Sector

Currency woes, droughts, power shortages and a lack of access to affordable funding are among the core challenges for the sector and industry at large.

By Catherine Howe

IMAGE: How Mine, courtesy of Metallon

Alongside agriculture, manufacturing and tourism, mining is a crucial sector within Zimbabwe’s economy. A country rich in a wide array of minerals including gold, diamonds, platinum, nickel, chrome and coal, many of Zimbabwe’s mineral reserves can be found along the Great Dyke, which runs from the north to the south of the country and spans a length of about 550km. Mineral resources found here primarily include platinum group metals (PGMs), gold, nickel, copper and chrome. Continue reading

Botswana: Diamonds Shine and Projects Loom

After a tough few years, Botswana seems set for fresh growth as new projects and infrastructure come on line.

By Eduardo Arcos

IMAGE: Vermeer

In 2016, the streets of Botswana were filled with blue, white and black flags, celebrating 50 years of the country’s independence. This southern African nation of just 2 million inhabitants has much to celebrate. Following its independence, the country was one of the poorest nations in the world, with virtually no developed infrastructure and economically dependent on a small beef industry. Since then, the country has undergone a dramatic transformation, becoming one of the most democratic and stable countries in the continent, as well as boasting one of the highest GDP per capita rates in Africa. In fact, from 1966 to 2014, Botswana’s GDP Continue reading

Local Companies Gain Competitiveness within Tanzania’s Mining Service Sector

Alongside the well-reputed international players, several home-grown local companies are consistently proving themselves to be competitive, offering additional advantages such as greater expertise in business culture and environment.

By Catherine Howe

Many major international companies servicing the mining sector have a footprint in Tanzania; widely recognized brands either have subsidiaries in the country or, when it comes to equipment and machinery or other products, some have selected distributors. For example, Bell Equipment is dealt exclusively through Mining Agriculture and Construction Services (MACS), which also distributes Liebherr, Terex Finlay, Cummins Engines and Class. Continue reading

Is Kenya’s Service Sector Ready to Support a Potential Influx of Mining Activity?

With major investments in the mining industry expected, Kenya must gear up its service offering

By Catherine Howe

IMAGE: Base Titanium

There are a number of service companies operating in Kenya with an excellent reputation, strong capabilities and extensive local knowledge. Panafrican Group, for example, is a major player in East Africa, providing and supporting mining equipment, and distributes Komatsu and Wirtgen brands. “A large part is knowledge of the environment and having a clear understanding of what is really possible, how long it will take and what it is going to cost,” commented Gregory Jackson, regional manager at Panafrican Group. “There is a lot of excitement in Kenya and on top of that excitement there are a lot of resourceful people in this industry with a good problem-solving attitude. There is a very strong entrepreneurial spirit, so there are a lot of good partners to work with here.” Continue reading

Southern Africa Mining

Southern Africa has long profited from its mineral wealth, until recently. Mature mining destinations were the hardest hit by the collapse in commodity prices. At last the area is seeing some respite.

By Mungo Smith

IMAGE: Courtesy of Vermeer

The downturn in the prices of commodities has slowed down mining activity in Southern Africa over the last three years. Nonetheless, signs of recovery are evident. Immense mineral wealth, from diamonds in Botswana and Zimbabwe, to massive coal deposits in Mozambique and South Africa’s well-known gold reserves, continue to lure investors as commodity prices recover gradually and governments undertake efforts to boost mining activity. Continue reading


Country: Africa Countries • Industry: Mining • Publication: Global Business Reports • Release Date: February 2017 • Authors: Catherine Howe, Laura Brangwin, Imara Salas, Meredith Veit, Pavlina Pavlova, Eduardo Arcos

Executive Summary:

Countries across the continent face common challenges and increasing competition for a diminished pool of global investment and, although some governments are increasing incentives in response, others are tipping the scale too far towards the interests of the country. In an industry already high in risk, factors such as the vast progress in infrastructure and increasing political stability, as well as a more stable legislative framework in many countries, are widely improving investor confidence.

There is a sense of optimism, particularly in younger mining jurisdictions with newly recognized potential. West African countries such as Côte d’Ivoire and Burkina Faso exude particular enthusiasm, with a number of promising exploration activities underway, overshadowing more mature jurisdictions such as Ghana and Mali in terms of interest. Southern Africa’s mining sectors have perhaps been most affected by the downturn, and there are many challenges to be solved going forward. Meanwhile, in East Africa, Kenya’s relatively nascent sector presents itself as the rising star, whilst Tanzania’s much more mature sector is becoming a less favorable investment destination due to its drive to increase return from the mining sector and the seemingly rash decision-making of the new government.

Continue reading

Mining in South Africa: Cautious Optimism

The commodity cycle and political/regulatory uncertainly have hit South African mining hard. The way forward is technology.

By Eduardo Arcos

IMAGE: Courtesy of Vermeer

The last three years have proved a bumpy ride for the mining industry in South Africa. As Chinese previously insatiable appetite for commodities waned amid a decelerating economy, prices of metals plunged to recession-era lows, major exploration projects were brought to a halt and mine closures took place across the board. Nevertheless, the recent stabilization in the price of commodities has gradually restored confidence from investors, who are once again looking to this region of vast mineral wealth. The overall consensus is that the boom years are gone for good but there are still plenty of opportunities under the new normal, and investors are slowly getting back on board. Continue reading