A lot can happen in one week in the African mining sector. Here are seven of the biggest headlines to come out of the industry in the last seven days.

7 Things That Happened in the African Mining industry This Week

11 June – 3-month worker strike at Sibanye-Stillwater over at last

Three months ago, thousands of mining staff across Sibanye-Stillwater’s gold mines in South Africa put down their tools and went on strike, demanding a wage increase.

On Saturday, the two unions representing the strike action, the AMCU (Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union) and the National Union of Mineworkers, signed a wage agreement with the mining company. The final agreement entailed that the employees receive an increase of R1,000 per month for the first year, a further increase of R900 a month in the second year, and finally a further increase of R750 a month for the third year.

Workers will also get an R3,000 hardship allowance upon returning to work before their next payday.

10 June – Construction is underway at Abujar, A gold mine with the potential to be one of the largest in Côte d’Ivoire

The Abujar gold project in Côte d’Ivoire, owned by Tietto Minerals, is now under construction. Tietto Minerals says the mine will be ready in time for the first gold pour in this year’s fourth quarter.

It is estimated that the open pit mine will produce 1.2 million ounces (34019 kg) of gold over the course of its first six years, with an expected yield of 260,000 ounces (7,370 kg) alone in its first year.

The life of the mine is expected to be more than ten years, which could be lengthened to 12 years should an underground operation be added to the project. This would, however, cost the developers an extra $48.4 million should it go ahead.

10 June – Higher fuel cost in South Africa to push prices of aggregates up

As the Russia-Ukraine war wages on and causes global fuel prices to continue to rise, quarrying in South Africa is becoming too expensive for quarries to absorb fuel costs for transport and operation. Quarries require a large amount of fuel to run, with a lot needed for transport and to operate mining equipment. Often, they rely on more than 50% of their energy usage on this resource for the haulage and operation of equipment.

Due to this, the cost of mining per tonne has increased greatly. However, quarries are striving to keep the price of aggregates, which are low-value resources, low in spite of the fact they are costing more to produce. This is placing even more stress not just on quarrying projects in the country but also on construction projects, which use aggregate commodities.

The result could have a knock-on effect and reduce the number of planned infrastructure projects for the country, which South Africa already needs more of.

For now, the best plan is for quarries to cut their fuel use and spending by optimising logistics and processes and for miners and transport firms to implement fuel-saving initiatives.

10 June – One of Gold Field’s Top-10 investors calls on mining firm to cancel its Yamana Gold deal

One of Gold Fields’ Top-10 investors, Redwheel, is urging the mining company to scrap plans to acquire Canadian miner Yamana Gold for $6.7 billion, saying Gold Fields had made a “serious error”.

Upon Gold Fields’ first announcement of the transaction a few weeks ago, stocks in the company plummeted by 20% on 31 May, due to worries from investors about valuation and dilution of shares. The stocks are yet to revive.

Redwheel, a London-based investment company, is a 3.38% shareholder in Gold Fields. The investor is concerned about the high cost of the Yamana deal and stated that the acquisition of Yamana would not necessarily bring about growth and profit for Gold Fields.

However, there are a few analysts who believe the market’s negative reaction is unfair, and that it is possible Gold Fields could benefit from diversifying its portfolio in this way. Only time will tell.

9 June – Artisanal diamond mine in the Congo caves in, killing six

Tragedy struck in the Democratic Republic of Congo’s Kasai province this week when an artisanal diamond mine caved in, causing the deaths of at least six people.

The miners were working underground in the mine and had not yet even begun to excavate it. Sadly, incidents like this happen often at artisanal mines, due to them being dug out and tunnelled by hand, meaning they are less stable.

The number of fatalities is officially confirmed to be six, provincial director for Congo’s artisanal mining agency SAEMAPE, Luc Pongo Mwamba, said there may be more fatalities that are presently unaccounted for.

8 June – Exploration surveys reveal 31 million tonnes of gold in Uganda

Uganda stated that its exploration surveys have shown there to be 31 million tonnes of gold deposits in the country. This is encouraging for the country, which wishes to draw in foreign investors to expand its mining industry.

From these large reserves of gold ore, it will be possible to extract approximately 320,158 tonnes of refined gold.

Karamoja in the northeastern area was the main site of gold ore findings, and vast deposits were also discovered in the eastern, central, and western regions.

Currently, wildcat miners running small-scale mines are the predominant players in the sector. The government and the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development are seeking to rather ramp up large-scale mineral and metals production by growing investment in the mining sector. In particular, the government wants to focus on materials such as iron ore, copper, gold, phosphates, and cobalt.

8 June – Phase 2 exploration programme at rare earth project in Mozambique is on schedule

Monte Muambe, exploration firm Altona’s flagship rare earth project in Mozambique, is on track with its Phase 2 exploration programme, which began at the end of April 2022.

At its current rate, the programme will be able to finish a maiden Joint Ore Reserves Committee resource statement by the first quarter of 2023. It will also have completed a preliminary economic assessment (PEA) by the second quarter of 2023.

The Phase 2 programme will involve a brief phase of 1,200-metre drilling on new targets 3 and 4, and further drilling and investigation of Target 1, which was found during Phase 1 exploration.

After this drilling phase, the exploration company will begin a maximum of 6,200-metre drilling in August. This will allow Altona to determine a capital value for the orebodies found, as well as to complete a PEA, preliminary metallurgical study, and a maiden mineral resource estimate.

The African mining industry is filled with non-stop action and new developments and is seeking candidates to join it every day. CA Mining is a mining recruitment firm based in South Africa and place candidates in roles around the continent. Visit our job board to see the latest mining jobs in Africa, and start applying today.