Mining AngloGold Ashanti has sold its last South African asset.
he sale in 2020 by AngloGold Ashanti of its Mponeng mine and Mine Waste Solutions to Harmony Gold for $300-million (about R4.4-billion) marks the end of an era. Although the company’s headquarters will continue to be in Johannesburg and it will be listed on the JSE, its mines are in Ghana, the Americas and Australia. AngloGold Ashanti was the successor to the mining company formed by Ernest Oppenheimer in 1917. Harmony Gold’s acquisition strategy, including the purchase from AngloGold of Moab Khotsong mine in 2017, will result in it being the country’s biggest gold producer. With 350 000 new ounces coming from Mponeng, it could produce an annual total of 1.7-million ounces. Cullinan diamond mine produced 30% more in the first half of 2019 than it did the year before. Run-of-mine production increased to 785 444ct. The company is engaged in an expansion programme called the C-Cut Phase 1 project. Cullinan is famous for its rare blue diamonds. The University of the Witwatersrand started life as the South African School of Mines. The School of Mining Engineering at Wits is now one of many at the university, but it is the highest ranked in terms of the QS World University Rankings. Gauteng is home to most of the research and training bodies associated with mining. Sibanye-Stillwater is one of many companies supporting research in the province: the Wits Mining Institute’s Digital Mining Laboratory (Digimine) is the focus of its funding. AECI, the explosives and chemicals company, sponsors the Virtual Reality Mine Design Centre at the University of Pretoria. The Mandela Mining Precinct is a joint venture between three government departments and the Minerals Council South Africa which aims to develop research into mining, showcase the country’s manufacturing abilities and to continue to create jobs and wealth as ore bodies are depleted. Mintek is an autonomous body based in Randburg which receives about 30% of its budget from the Department of Mineral Resources. The balance comes from joint ventures with private-sector partners,
ONLINE RESOURCES Council for Geoscience: www.geoscience.org.za Minerals Council South Africa: www.mineralscouncil.org.za Mintek: www.mintek.co.za National Department of Mineral Resources: www.dmr.gov.za
SECTOR INSIGHT Harmony Gold’s purchase of Mponeng mine boosts its overall volumes.
or is earned in research and development income, the sale of services or products and from technology licensing agreements. Pretoria University has a Department of Mining Engineering, the University of South Africa offers three national diplomas in mine-related fields, the University of Johannesburg has mine-surveying courses and the Vaal and Tshwane universities of technology have engineering faculties. The national government’s Phakisa programme is to be applied to mining. Intended to fast-track solutions to development problems, an Operation Mining Phakisa Lab has been set up to create concrete plans. Similarly, the Provincial Government of Gauteng has initiated Action Labs in the mining sector. ■ GAUTENG BUSINESS 2020/21