Tuesday, February 18, 2014

South Africa Seeks Nuclear Power Expansion

Koeberg Nuclear Power Station
Days after President Jacob Zuma confirmed in his State of the Nation address that government would move ahead with the procurement of new nuclear capacity, the Department of Energy (DoE) indicated that it planned to appoint an adviser to assess the economic impact of “localisation for the nuclear expansion programme”.

In addition, State-owned power utility Eskom released a separate expression of interest for a pilot localisation programme for valves used at the existing Koeberg nuclear power station, in the Western Cape.

The current version of the Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) calls for the introduction of 9 600 MW of new nuclear capacity by 2030 and Zuma indicated that government expected to “conclude the procurement” of that capacity.

The IRP also suggested that alternative generation solutions should be pursued if the new nuclear capacity could not be built within a capital-costs price threshold of $6 500/kW installed.

Zuma also used his address to stress that, in the “next five years, the State will procure at least 75% of its goods and services from South African producers” and would “work intensively to develop emerging or black industrialists.”

The DoE planned to host a compulsory briefing session with potential service providers on February 20 and had indicated that the successful bidder would be appointed for a period of four months. It also set March 7 as the closing date for submission.

Eskom, on the other hand, wanted local valve manufacturers to outline their current capacity to participate in a pilot localisation initiative for the design, manufacture and supply of nuclear-grade valves for Koeberg. A closing date of March 4 had been set for responses. (Polity, 2/18/2014)

Monday, February 17, 2014

Illegal Miners Rescued & Arrested

More than 20 illegal mine workers emerged from an abandoned mine by Monday afternoon but scores remained underground after a rescue operation stalled.
About 200 illegal miners are believed to be in the abandoned mine, many of them apparently fearing arrest if they come out. The situation has created a tense standoff between the miners below ground and the emergency workers and police trying to rescue them.

Emergency rescue service company ER24 said Sunday that police discovered the men stuck underground in an old ventilation tunnel after the police heard shouts during a patrol of the mine site, located east of Johannesburg near the area of Benoni. The emergency rescuers were able to open a hole to free 11 men on Sunday and another 13 on Monday, using large equipment to move boulders blocking a route underground.

Rescue workers said they were unwilling to go underground themselves because of questions about the stability of the shaft and the risk that miners might try to take them hostage.  Police arrested the men who did come out for illegal mining

The abandoned ventilation shaft is owned by Gold One International Ltd.  The company has the right to prospect for gold in the area, but had sealed off the ventilation shaft with a cement slab. Gold One said illegal miners dug a hole around the cement slab, which had collapsed behind them.

South Africa, once the world's largest gold producer, has shut many old mines around Johannesburg. Illegal mining has increased at abandoned gold mines near Johannesburg, the Department of Mineral Resources said in September. In 2010, South Africa's minister of mineral resources, Susan Shabangu, estimated the country loses around 5.6 billion rand ($516 million) a year due to illegal mining and she has launched a committee to look into how to reduce the activity.  (WSJ, 2/17/2014)

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Monday, May 7, 2012

South Africa Needs Job Creation To Remain Stable

Poor, unemployed South Africans receive about 280-rand ($35) government grants each month per chold to pay for schooling. But Africa's largest economy isn't creating many jobs. The economy grew 3.1% last year and is projected to grow just 2.7% this year, according to the International Monetary Fund, far below the government's target of 7%. Government leaders have all but abandoned a target to create five million jobs by 2020, after just above 200,000 were added last year. Instead, for nearly a third of South Africans, government grants for needy parents, the disabled and the elderly are a crucial source of income.

The bill goes to the less-than-10% of South Africans who pay income taxes, which kick in at an annual salary of 120,000 rand, about $15,230.  For years, those few relatively affluent South Africans were willing to pay the price to reshape an economy distorted by decades of white-minority rule. But as growth sputters, both the legions without jobs and a middle class frustrated by new levies and fees are increasingly frustrated.

South Africa has to figure out how to increase job creation.  We would suggest more international trade with the United States. The biggest bang for the money will come when the things that South Africa does as a government will make it possible for more businesses to spring up and employ more people.

The ANC created the social-grant system after the end of apartheid to protect those unlikely to find a foothold in the new economy. Then, in 1994, some 12% of South Africans were living on less than $2 a day. That percentage has fallen to 5%, but a surge in births and life expectancy has led to a swelling in social grants—such awards have quadrupled over the past decade to $13.4 billion a year, more than 3% of South Africa's GDP.  South African Treasury officials are proud of the social-grant program, which was made possible by a post-apartheid boom in which the economy grew for 15 straight years, until the financial crisis in 2009. But they acknowledge that their development strategy needs an overhaul.

All three major rating companies have lowered their outlook for South Africa's debt to negative from stable in the past six months, citing concerns that the government won't curb the cost of social programs and public wages. (WSJ, 5/6/2012)

Saturday, November 20, 2010

African American Environmental Association: 25th Anniversary


By Norris McDonald

Today is our 25th anniversary.  We was incorporated on November 20, 1985.  The African American Environmentalist Association (AAEA) is the outreach arm of the Center for Environment, Commerce & Energy (Center).

You can see a listing of many of our activities during that time at our original website, which we converted to Multiply when the original Msn Groups platform ended).  There is more activity information at our History page. My career has been very satisfying.  From my beginning in the Fall of 1979 at the Environmental Policy Center (now Friends of the Earth) until today, the adventure has been incredible.  I started out in the Washington, D.C.-based environmental movement.  Jimmy Carter was president and was just finishing a rough 4-year run.  I shook his hand at the Democratic National Convention in New York in 1980 not knowing that Washington was about to get a completely new makeover.  The Reagan era was interesting and quite the challenge for the environmental movement.  I still remember his 'no standard standard' for appliance efficiency standards.  I also remember the Air Florida crash and the Metro subway accident on the day that I was walking back from the U.S. Department of Energy after testifying on appliance standards.

Well, without sounding like the old guy in the room sharing old war time stories that nobody really wants to hear, the situation today is as exciting as ever.  We are embarking on trying to build biomass power plants in Mississippi, California and in Kenya.  The adventure continues and I am having more fun than ever.  Our team is lean and mean and green. 

I have kept the AAEA small on purpose and will continue to do so.  I almost died from respiratory failure in 1991 and 1996 (intubated for 4 days in ICU each time).  After getting divorced and full custody of my son when he was 2 years old, I decided that I wanted to stick around to see my son grow up.  But I also wanted to continue with my entrepreneurial environmentalism.  So keeping it small worked.  Although I still struggle with a chronic acute asthma that could kill me any day, my son is now 18 and I am still 'doing my green thing.'  Life is good.  Hey, and we just opened a new Center Hollywood blog this week (Also see AAEA Hollywood).  Oh, and if you're feeling generous, feel free to click on our Donation button on our sites.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

New Energy Mix Proposal Reduces Coal Use

The Department of Energy has drafted a plan that proposes nearly halving the share of coal in the country's energy mix to 48% by 2030, down from about 90% today, using nuclear power and renewable energy such as wind and solar to make up the difference. The proposal, with an estimated price tag of R860-billion ($125-billion), would expand the country's generation capacity by 52,248 MW over the next 20 years, up from almost 40,000 MW.

Nelisiwe Magubane
 Nelisiwe Magubane, right, Director General of the Department of Energy, is coordinating the effort. The proposal, called the "Integrated Resource Plan", will be up for discussion at public meetings in November and December and will then undergo a revision to reflect public input.  The government plans to adopt it as official policy in early 2011. 

Under the plan, the country's energy mix in 2030 would rely on nuclear for 14% of electricity, renewable energy for 16% and coal for 48%, with the remaining 22% coming from a mix of local and imported hydropower and different gas technologies. The turn toward nuclear would be a major shift in energy policy for South Africa, which currently has just one nuclear plant whose two reactors generate about 6% of its electricity. The government will consider opening nuclear power generation to the private sector to help cover the cost of building new plants, which can cost up to $15-billion depending on capacity.

The draft plan also analyses a "low-carbon scenario" that would include 36% coal-sourced electricity, 32% renewables and 12% nuclear. But planners found that programme would drive up costs by 50% and cut carbon emissions by just 10% more than the "balanced scenario" the draft plan endorses.

Magubane believes South Africa cannot afford to put green energy ahead of economic development and the country needs outside assistance in the fight against climate change. (Mail & Guardian, 10/17/2010)

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Petroleum Agency South Africa Signs Offshore Permit

BHP Billiton awarded exploration rights offshore of South Africa's West Coast

According to Petroleum Agency SA CEO Mthozami Xiphu, left, the agency has issued a permit to BHP Billiton. BHP Billiton, PetroSA and Sasol have signed a new-order exploration rights agreement in respect of block 3A/4A, offshore of South Africa. The signature marked the conversion of subleases to exploration rights. BHP Billiton, which has a 60% interest in block 3A/4A and a 90% interest in block 3B/4B, is the operator of both blocks. The remaining equity on block 3A/4A is held by PetroSA (30%) and Sasol (10%).

Global Offshore Oil Exploration South Africa holds a 10% interest in block 3B/4B. Block 3A/4A is considered a shallow water block and block 3B/4B a deep water block. Both blocks are located northwest of Cape Town, off the western coast of South Africa. While the corner of block 3A/4A touches the coast, the area of primary interest is located 274 km offshore. Block 3B/4B is located to the west of block 3A/4A and the area of primary interest currently identified on this block is 379 km offshore. (Mining Weekly, 9/21/2010)

Monday, August 9, 2010

Remembering Environmental Justice Legend Dana Alston

Dana Alston was 47 years old when she died 11 years ago on August 7, 1999.

Dana Alston, left, was a leader of the original environmental justice movement that started in the 1980's. She was one of the organizers of the first National Environmental Justice Leadership Summit in 1992. She participated in the meetings to convince the U.S. EPA to open an Office of Environmental Justice. She was a committed environmental justice activist and the movement clearly benefited from her leadership. We remember you Dana. And we will never forget you.

Dana Alston received a Bannerman Fellowship in 1992 in recognition of her leadership in the development of the environmental justice movement. The Bannerman Fellowship Program was founded in 1987 on the belief that the most effective approach to achieving progressive social change is by organizing low-income people at the grassroots level. In 2002, the Fellowship Program was renamed the Alston/Bannerman Fellowship Program in honor of Dana Alston.

Dana died on August 7, 1999 at California Pacific Medical Center in San Francisco. Dana was a native of New York and lived in Washington, D.C. She was in San Francisco for treatment of kidney disease and consequences of a stroke when she died.

Her son, Khalil Alston-Cobb, now 17, resides in Clinton, Maryland. He is (or was at 16) a skateboard enthusiast (see videos). Here is how Khalil describes himself on his MySpace page:

"I like Skateboarding, Playing videogames, listening to music, talking to Gurls, surfing the Web, and Chillin wit the Homies."
Khalil is also on Twitter. He has a great skateboarding video on MonsterArmy.com. He is listed on Children of the Struggle. Dana would be very proud of her teenage son. All who knew her are not surprised that Khalil is an energetic and productive young man.

Friday, July 30, 2010

DoE Drafting Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) 2010

The Department of Energy (DoE) is drafting the second Integrated Resource Plan, or IRP2010 and the final draft is expected to be published in September. Energy Minister Dipuo Peters, left, has noted that consultations have been completed with working groups, and discussions would need to be held with the InterMinisterial Committee on energy before decisions are finalized. The document would then be sent to the Cabinet, and if accepted, only then would it be made public.

The DoE is spearheading the IRP2010, which would determine South Africa's current and future energy requirements for the next 20 years. Once decisions are published as to what percentage of energy was to be derived from which specific resources, it was expected to accelerate investment by the private sector. (Engineering News, 7/30/2010)

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Tenth Commission of Employment Equity Annual Report

The Tenth Commission of Employment Equity Annual Report (July 2010), published by the Department of Labour, indicates that white males still dominate the top echelons of South Africa's workplace, yet they are in the minority. The picture on training and development is no different, where white males continue to benefit the most. The Department says that this report is discouraging because it shows very slow progress on transformation and potential to erode the insignificant achievement made to date.

10th CEE Annual Report: Part 1

10th CEE Annual Report: Part 2

(Engineering News, 7/29/2010)

Friday, July 9, 2010

COCA-COLA Sponsors HBCU Students Trip To South Africa


Twenty-one HBCU students spent five days in South Africa soaking up the local culture and experiencing the 2010 FIFA World Cup. The students were winners of the Coca-Cola “Open Happiness Tour,” a video competition that sought creative and inspirational answers to the question: How does the Coca-Cola RAIN program inspire you? The Coca-Cola RAIN “Water for Schools” initiative helps provide safe drinking water for schoolchildren in Africa and around the world.

Lael Clark and Justin Smith at the Argentina vs. Mexico World Cup match

Funbi Oluwole at the Nelson Mandela House

Lael Clark, Funbi Oluwole, Tatianna Mosley, Sherron Douglas and Edifon Ette at the Greenfields primary and secondary school

Alicia Routh, Tatianna Mosley, Lael Clark, Cherish Rush and Theresa Scales on Safar

Saturday, July 3, 2010

South Africa's Nuclear Weapons Program - The Early Years

The Republic of South Africa is the first and only nation to have successfully developed nuclear weapons, and then voluntarily relinquished that capability. The decision to completely destroy weapons related technology and information was to keep nuclear weapons out of the hands of the black-led government.

In a 24 March 1993 speech, President de Klerk not only revealed that South Africa had produced nuclear weapons, but that the arsenal had been destroyed before 10 July 1991, when South Africa joined the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT). Not only have the weapons themselves been destroyed, and the fissile material recast into non-weapon ingots, but all design and production information has been destroyed as well. Of course, it is very easy to get this information today.

A secret project was begun by the Atomic Energy Board (AEB) in the early 1960s to develop a unique uranium enrichment technology. Initially the project was housed in a small warehouse in Pretoria, but was later moved to Pelindaba. The technology was nozzle or vortex enrichment, achieves separation by generating a near-sonic speed vortex of a mixture of uranium hexafluoride and hydrogen gases in a narrow stationary tube. The centrifugal forces caused by the high speed rotation concentrate heavier U-238 at the periphery and lighter U-235 at the axis, so that axial and peripheral out take tubes can extract isotopically enriched and depleted materials respectively, a process analogous to that produced by the spinning rotor of a gas centrifuge.

The strategic implications of Soviet involvement in Africa - either direct or by proxy - weighed heavily on South Africa's leaders and was a chief motivation for the later actual manufacture of nuclear weapons to provide a hedge against Soviet-sponsored aggression. The strategy then was to use these weapons as leverage with Western powers - demonstrating their existence, and then threatening to resort to nuclear attack if assistance was not provided, should outside assistance prove necessary.

(Original Article)

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Africa’s Largest Wind Farm Opens in Morocco

Morocco’s officially inaugurated a wind farm in the town of Melloussa this week. The project has 165 turbines and a production capacity of 140 megawatts, enough power for 140,000 homes. The farm is touted as Africa’s largest wind farm and cost $300 million to construct. Besides significantly reducing CO2 emissions, the farm is expected to save over 125,000 metric tons of oil annually. Like many parts of the world, Morocco relies on imported oil and coal for its energy needs. The Kingdom of Morocco is the only North African country without its own oil.

Funding for the project came from the European Investment Bank, Official Credit Institute of Spain, the Moroccan National Office of Potable Water and Germany’s Kreditanstalt fur Wienderaufbau. This is not the first wind project for Morocco. The first farm was constructed in 2000 and several others have been added over the years. (Triple Pundit, 6/30/2010)

Coca-Cola Sponsored Sudents Tour Constitution Building


Twenty-one HBCU students are spending five days in South Africa soaking up the local culture, including this stop at the Constitutional Court Building, once the site of a prison where Nelson Mandela was detained.

The students are winner of the Coca-Cola “Open Happiness Tour,” a video competition that sought creative and inspirational answers to the question: How does the Coca-Cola RAIN program inspire you? The Coca-Cola RAIN “Water for Schools” initiative helps provide safe drinking water for schoolchildren in Africa and around the world.

Pictured are student winners: Funbi Oluwole, Clark Atlanta University; Alisa Routh & Justin Smith, Florida A&M University; Tatiana Mosley & Junious Smith III, Fayetteville State University; Jasmine Singleton & Graylin Taylor, Ft. Valley State University; Jelyse Dawson & Derrill Miller, Grambling State University; Lael Clark & Tremone Jackson, Johnson C. Smith University, Stephen Love, Morehouse College; Ashley Canty & Victor Pimentel, Norfolk State University; Edifon Ette & Sherron Douglas, Southern University; Karen Evans, Spelman College, Cherish Rush & Ryan Small, Texas Southern, Theresa Scales & Steve Morgan, Jr., Xavier University.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Pebble Bed Modular Reactor (PBMR) Update

Second Take: PBMR Update

Creamer Media's Mariaan Webb speaks to Engineering News senior contributing editor Keith Campbell about the PBMR.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Mining Companies Stalling on Black Economic Empowerment

A study by KIO Advisory Services, commissioned on behalf of the South African Mining Development Association, has found that the top 25 South African mining companies were lagging far behind the legislated targets contained in the black economic-empowerment (BEE) codes of good practice. The report stated that the sector had "huge" shortfalls in the representation of black people in management.

The report showed that the South African mining sector was not "anywhere close" to achieving the target of 26% black ownership by 2014. It stated that the gross value of black shareholding amounted to 5,27% of the total R1,8-trillion market capitalisation of the top 25 mining companies, as at the end of March 31, 2010.
Measured against the BEE codes, the percentage of black people in top management was 17,9% compared with a compliance target of 40%, while the percentage of black people in senior management was 15,5% compared with a compliance target of 43%. Middle management showed a 63% compliance with almost 27% of middle management being represented by black people and junior management ranked at 68% compliance with 32,8% being presented by black people.

The report showed that white women had a representation of 7,4% in senior management, a 14,6% representation in middle management and an 8,1% representation in junior management.Gqubule pointed out that the mining charter of 2002 had set a 40% target for historically disadvantaged South Africans (HDSAs) in management, which included white women. The high numbers of white women in the HDSA targets for management have the effect of distorting the true picture of transformation in the sector. This is why they benchmarked the sector against the BEE codes in addition to the Mining Charter. (Mining Weekly, 6/24/2010)

Related Articles:

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Minister tells SA miners to speed up transformation

Our Associates at the World Cup

Clearly all of us are supportive of South Africa and America in the soccer competition.

African Business Group partner Michael Sudarkasa at right

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Coca-Cola Sponsors 21 HBCU Students in South Africa

Student winners of Coca-Cola's “Open Happiness Tour” video contest are headed to South Africa for five days to learn more about Africa’s water crisis first-hand when they visit a local orphanage whose water system is in dire need of repairs. Coca-Cola will make a donation to assist with the repairs of the water system to provide the orphanage will have clean running water for cooking, bathing and other necessities.

The 21 Historically Black College and University (HBCU) students will also meet with executives from Coca-Cola South Africa, who will share information about other projects the company is sponsoring. The students will learn about other initiatives throughout Africa, including HIV/AIDS and malaria prevention, access to education, job creation and humanitarian assistance. The students leave Atlanta on June 25 and return on July 1. While there, the students will be taking photos and videos and will also to soak up South African culture, including a trip to the Nelson Mandela National Museum, go on a Safari and attend a FIFA World Cup match.

For more information, contact Sarah Woodward, Coca-Cola 404-870-6870.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Optimum Coal in Arbitration with Eskom Over Coal Deliveries

Mike Teke
Black-owned JSE-listed coal-mining company Optimum Coal is to go to arbitration over the differing interpretations of a coal supply agreement that it has with Eskom. Optimum is contracted to supply 5.5-million tons of the 7.3-million tons of coal that Eskom's Hendrina power station consumes a year.
Mike Teke, left, is CEO of Optimum.

BHP Billiton Coal South Africa, with Eskom's consent, ceded the coal supply agreement to Optimum as part of a black economic-empowerment (BEE) exercise. However, the terms of the agreement were simultaneously amended.

Instead of Optimum supplying 6,5-million of coal a year to Hendrina, the contracted volume was reduced to 5,5-million tons, on the understanding that the one-million tons that would no longer be delivered were coal fines, which Eskom preferred not to receive. There has been no alteration to the price, which remained at R93/t.
Optimum is continuing to supply the coal to Hendrina pending the outcome of the arbitration.

Optimum sold R3.9-billion worth of coal in 2009. Last year's volume totalled 9.3-million tons, of which four-million tons - some 45% - were exported. Optimum is South Africa's sixth-largest thermal coal producer and its fourth-largest exporter, after Anglo Thermal Coal, Becsa and Xstrata Coal. It raised R1,5-billion when it listed on the JSE in April, which assisted the company to acquire up to 96% of Koornfontein coal mine. (Mining Weekly, 6/14/2010)

Thursday, June 10, 2010


Blikkiesdorp, which is Afrikaans for “Tin Can Town”, is a relocation camp made of corrugated iron shacks. Blikkiesdorp was built by the City of Cape Town in 2007. It contains approximately 1,600 one room structures. According to government officials, it has cost over 30 million rand to build. The structures have walls and roofs made of thin tin and zinc sheets. They are 50 square feet (18 square meters) in size. Sanitation and water facilities are shared between four structures.

Protests over evictions and poor living conditions have erupted in squatter settlements around South Africa, particularly in relation to the developments for the World Cup. (Wash Post, 6/10/2010, Wiki)

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Joe Biden To Attend Opening Ceremonies of World Cup

Vice President Joe Biden and Dr. Jill Biden departed for Egypt, Kenya, and South Africa on June 5th. Vice President Biden will travel to South Africa, where he will meet with South African Deputy President Motlanthe, South African Foreign Minister Nkoana-Mashabane, and other world leaders in attendance at the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa.

The World Cup begins on June 11th. The Vice President and Dr. Biden will represent the United States at the opening ceremonies of the 2010 FIFA World Cup and attend the U.S. Men’s National Team’s first game, before returning to Washington, DC. (The White House)

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Eskom Wants Carbon Offset Credit For New Coal Plant

Eskom Holdings Ltd. is studying whether the 4,800-megawatt Medupi Power Station is eligible for carbon credits under the Kyoto Protocol's Clean Development Mechanism. Eskom recently received approval of a $3.75 billion World Bank loan to build the world's fourth-largest coal-fired power plant. The plant will be South Africa's first power station in more than 15 years and the first to use supercritical boiler technology, which allows the plant to operate more efficiently.

Most NGOs oppose the plant and oppose the carbon credit proposal. The fight surrounding the Medupi loan was one of the most vicious in recent World Bank history. They insist Eskom should not be allowed to receive both World Bank aid and carbon credits to build a plant that will emit 25 million tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere annually. Environmental groups insisted the bank had an obligation to stop using limited public resources to fuel coal projects, particularly as the institution sought a greater role in relieving the impacts of climate change. The World Bank maintained that its top obligation was reducing poverty and enhancing energy access -- even if that sometimes means funding fossil fuel. Developing countries sided with South Africa, while industrialized nations engaged in a protracted debate over reconciling their governments' calls to solve climate change with funding a new coal plant. The United States and three other countries abstained as other World Bank board members approved the loan.

The Center-South Africa supports the plant and the proposal. Supercritical boilers are the best technology available for coal. We would, however, prefer that nuclear power plants would be built with the loan money and carbon offsets would be allowed for the nuclear plant substitute.

If Eskom ultimately wins CDM approval, it could generate millions of dollars for avoiding greenhouse gas emissions by using more efficient technology. South Africa has no choice, nothwithstanding nuclear power plants, which are expensieve to build, but to build new generating capacity and to rely on their most abundant and affordable energy source: coal.

The Medupi power plant will be the first in Africa to use cleaner super-critical technology, making it one of the most efficient large-scale power plants on the continent. As Eskom looks for additional financing for its critical energy program, the CDM could be one of options it considers. As the first power station in Africa to use cleaner "supercritical" technology, the Medupi plant will reduce emissions by 5 percent. It will also be fitted for carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology if and when it becomes available, though CCS is not a practical option.

According to the World Bank, $3.05 billion of the total loan will go toward completing the Medupi coal plant. Another $260 million will go toward piloting a utility-scale 100-megawatt wind power project in Sere and a 100-megawatt concentrated solar plant with storage in Upington. South Africa, meanwhile, vowed to use $1.25 billion of a larger World Bank loan package to reduce emissions at power plants. (The New York Times, 6/2/2010)

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

France Hosts African Leaders

Climate Change at the Top of the Agenda

French President Nicolas Sarkozy hosted talks with 38 African leaders at a summit to renew France's ties on the continent. President Sarkozy stated that developing nations must make good on their promises of billions of dollars in aid to poorer countries at the Copenhagen summit unless they want international conferences to lose all credibility. At the Copenhagen summit in December, developed countries agreed to provide 30 billion dollars for three years to help poorer nations battle climate change. Part of the funds are earmarked for battling deforestation in the Congo basin, home to the world's second largest forest after the Amazon of Brazil.

But questions have been raised as to how much of that aid has been raised since Copenhagen. Ethiopian President Meles Zenawi, who chaired the debate on climate change in Nice, is sceptical about whether the financing would ever reach those in need. Zenawi has warned that the future of UN climate talks hinges on getting firmer commitments. At an African Union meeting in Addis Ababa in May, Zenawi also vowed that there will be no legally binding agreement on climate change unless there is a reliable and adequate accord on financing.

About 80 French business leaders including top bosses at oil giant Total and nuclear behemoth Areva took part in summit talks along with 150 heads of African companies. France has taken a back seat to China, Africa's biggest trade partner, which has injected billions over the past decade to tap into raw materials needed to fuel its economy.

According to the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), private sector investment in Africa gone from some 17 billion dollars in 2005 to 88 billion dollars in 2008.

South Africa's President Jacob Zuma and Nigeria's new leader Goodluck Jonathan attended the meeting. (Expatica.com, 6/1/2010)

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Diamond Prices Recovering to Pre-Crash Levels

According to Trans Hex CEO Llewellyn Delport, left, diamond pricing is fully back to normal, mostly because of consumer demand in India and China. Trans Hex has begun to sell the 10% lots of diamonds that have been tied up at the State Diamond Trader. If Trans Hex fails to reach an amicable solution with the State Diamond Trader, the two will meet in court in early August. Trans Hex sexlls by tender and the State Diamond Trader situation presents a unique challenge.

Trans Hex is looking to use its cash conservatively across a spectrum of opportunities. Electricity represents only 3% of Trans Hex's total costs. (Mining Weekly, 5/31/2010)

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Rise and Fall of Dr Benny Mokaba at Sasol Limited

Sasol appointed Dr Benny Mokaba, right, as an executive director in May 2006, where he assumed responsibility for the company's energy businesses in South Africa, including Sasol's synfuels, mining, Secunda shared services, gas, and liquid fuels businesses. Dr Mokaba was also appointed as a member of both the Sasol Limited board, the group executive committee and as a director of various group companies and divisions.

Dr Benny Mokaba resigned as director of Sasol Limited on October 14, 2009 and left the company entirely on January 1, 2010.

(Encyclopedia.com, 3/24/2006, TradingMarkets, 9/2009)