Digging deep Unpacking some of mining’s trending topics

Now that the 2019 year is in full swing the Mining Review Africa editorial team felt it apt to cover two major areas that are taking front and centre stage in the mining sector in the February edition.

So it should come as no surprise that this includes safety – primarily in South Africa’s deep level mines on the back of what was considered a catastrophic year in 2018.

We also take a look at the precious metals sector and more specifically price forecasts for gold, platinum and palladium. A lot of our readers are looking for clarity around the financial performance of these commodities as a means to determine how they may impact (positively or negatively) on the downstream supply industry and of course the overall economic performance for those countries who rely heavily on these metals to generate revenue.

We provide you with in-depth coverage and analysis of both these topics in great detail. I guarantee that you will ‘walk away’ feeling fully informed on both subjects and will know how best to adjust your business focuses and strategies to align with the industry’s needs in these areas.

But let me use this opportunity to reflect on the safety of the South African mining industry from my perspective – and although the number of fatalities grew (slightly!) from 2017 to 2018 we should stop to acknowledge the significant improvement the industry has collectively achieved over the past 10+ years.

The improvement is enormous and yet our industry’s safety record only makes it into the headlines for negative reasons. Safety is on the agenda in a big way this year and we’ve unpacked what you need to know. At the end of the day one must ask not how to make our mines safer – because the majority of them are already safe – but rather how we can influence behaviour as the next step required to achieve zero harm. And, on that note, what is your definition of zero harm, anyway? A standard definition is required in order to know how to get there.

When I look at the precious metals sector, I see one thing very clearly: palladium is the flavour of the month and may be the reason some of our platinum miners are pushing through in a low platinum price environment.

Gold seems likely to remain stable for now although South Africa’s gold miners may be entering into the final transition phase required to keep their businesses alive: developing and/or acquiring assets outside of the country. Nedbank analysts believe the sector is in its final twilight years. Do you agree? The response to finding new levels of sustainability is technology – but only time will tell if that is the solution to take our gold mines beyond the next five to 10 years.

So – two hot topics worth reading about which will answer some of your questions and open the door to discussion, new ideas and knowledge sharing. As always – the best place to stay informed is within the pages of Mining Review Africa or just a click away from our ever-growing website. No matter your preference, we’ve got you covered.

I’d also like to officially welcome our new team member Gerard Peter. He joins as a senior editor on the Mining Review Africa team.