Platinumb

ulhas joglekar ulhasj at SPAMbom4.vsnl.net.in
Mon Aug 2 06:45:11 MDT 1999




It would be interesting to know if a different economic strategy for
Southern Africa
(different from dutch-disease, as Patrick calls it) has been elaborated by
newly emerging
workers and other progressive formations in Zimbabwe or Namibia.


Ulhas


----- Original Message -----
From: Patrick Bond <pbond at wn.apc.org>
To: <marxism at lists.panix.com>
Sent: Monday, August 02, 1999 12:36 PM
Subject: Re: Platinumb


> My Harare sources claim that because of Europe's imminent move to a
> tighter auto emissions policy, and the need for more platinum in
> improved catalytic converters, the economic viability of Hartley may
> yet change. Another inhibiting feature for BHP was the extent to
> which corrupt Zimbabwe officials have allegedly put a squeeze on
> foreign mining concerns, not for the good of the country's
> development but rather to line their personal pockets.
>
> Interestingly, the former head of the mineworkers' union, Morgan
> Tsvangirai, is about to launch a workers' party (Movement for
> Democratic Change) which by all accounts could very well beat Robert
> Mugabe's Zanu nationalists in next April's parliamentary elections.
> (And yesterday, former Namibian trade unionist--and Robben Island
> detainee--Ben Ilunga launched a similar progressive party to try to
> unseat the ghastly nationalist Sam Nujoma in next year's
> presidential race.)
>
> If anyone wants a broader critique of the reliance of Southern
> African countries on that absurd "dutch-disease" extraction
> process now termed the minerals-energy-complex, you can't do better
> than Ben Fine and Zav Rustomjee's The Political Economy of South
> Africa (London, Hirst and Johannesburg, Wits Press, 1996), which has
> a very subtle marxian undertone and which represents one of the
> finest case studies of state-capital relations yet constructed.
>
> > From:          "ulhas joglekar" <ulhasj at bom4.vsnl.net.in>
> >             Platinumb
> >             ZIMBABWE'S platinum deposits, the world's largest, may never
be
> >             fully exploited due to poor geology, as yet unmastered by
the
> >             world's best mining firms, analysts say. The deposits,
estimated
> >             bigger than S Africa's, claimed their largest victim yet,
> >             Australia's Broken Hill Proprietary (BHP), which closed its
Hartley
> >             Platinum Mine last month after toiling for three years and
raking
> >             US$545 mn in losses.
> >             But analysts say the nascent industry, although severely
jolted by
> >             the closure of Hartley, has the expertise and resources to
survive
> >             and suggest Hartley's size may have been its archilles.
> >             Innovative mining methods may be needed to viably extract
resources
> >             from the mineral rich Great Dyke, a layered igneous
structure that
> >             truncates Zimbabwe through the centre for 550 kilometres and
is up
> >             to 11 km wide. ``The closure of Hartley has made a big dent
on the
> >             future of platinum mining in this country,'' says Peter
Simpson, a
> >             director with mining consultants, Peacock Simpson
Associates.
> >             ``The problem with BHP was that the huge capital investment
and
> >             production could not match the throughput required. If
someone takes
> >             over with a zero debt burden, I am sure there must be a way
it can
> >             be operated profitably,'' Simpson said.
> >             But others are not so sure. ``The nature of the Great Dyke
means
> >             that its values are found in narrow zones on shallow dips,
> >             preventing the use of gravity to simplify mining and
increase its
> >             scale of operation,'' mining consultant John Hollaway, wrote
> >             recently in an industry journal. ``The Great Dyke may be a
world
> >             class resource, but it does not allow the development of
world class
> >             mines," Hollaway said.
> >             At Hartley, BHP used labour intensive underground mining
while Anglo
> >             American Corporation's local subsidiary, which is
considering
> >             developing its Unki claims, proposes using innovative
systems such
> >             as diamond-coated cutting wires. Australia's Zimplats which
bought
> >             Hartley, plans open cast mining at its Ngezi mine.
> >             Hartley, Zimbabwe's single largest mining investment since
> >             independence in 1980, was shut _ the government says
temporarily _
> >             on June 2, after BHP concluded it was unprofitable and
unsafe.
> >             However, both officials and analysts say there is great
enthusiasm
> >             to find a way past the geological challenges posed by the
nature of
> >             the ground on the Great Dyke.
> >             The Zimbabwe Mining and Smelting Company, a local firm
producing
> >             platinum, albeit at a lower scale at its Mimosa Mine,
recently said
> >             it was looking for a partner to expand production.
> >             Australia's Delta Gold which bought Hartley through Zimplats
for a
> >             nominal US$3 million is also looking to develop its huge
claims at
> >             Ngezi as well as seeking to revive Hartley. Added to that
are
> >             numerous small-scale mining units dotted on the Great Dyke
ridge.
> >             ``We are confident that the platinum business will grow. The
future
> >             is there. Perhaps what is required is that the government
give the
> >             facilities that mining companies are asking,'' Chamber of
Mines
> >             Chief Executive David Murangari told Reuters.
> >             BHP said unstable ground conditions resulted in safety
problems
> >             which led to loss of reserves and dilution of the ore
compared to
> >             those found following studies.
> >             The studies had shown that the Hartley complex contained
over 200
> >             million ounces of platinum-group metals as well as
quantities of
> >             associated nickel, copper, gold and cobalt, which for now,
appear
> >             destined to stay in the ground.
> >             Reuters
>














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