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South Africa’s Transnet transports monthly record of manganese

Comments (0) Africa, Business, Latest Updates from Reuters

JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) – South Africa’s Transnet Freight Rail moved a record number of manganese shipments in May due to new trains and improved market conditions, the company said on Wednesday.

Transnet Freight moved 1.053 million tons in May from a previous high of 976,671 tons in October 2015.

“The record-breaking performance is due to a significant improvement in efficiencies across the channels which were driven by the introduction of new locomotives among other things,” Transnet Freight Rail said in a statement.

State-owned Transnet plans to spend up to 390 billion rand ($26 billion) over ten years to expand and revamp railways, pipelines and ports in Africa’s most advanced economy, which is struggling with flagging growth.

More than 75 percent of the new locomotive railway fleet is used to move manganese, used as a component to keep steel from rusting. The company also moves coal, chrome and iron ore.

The company also said there was “an upturn in market conditions”. A company spokesman said the company able to move more volumes from mining companies.

($1 = 14.9650 rand)


(Reporting by Zandi Shabalala, editing by Louise Heavens)

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South32 considering buyout of Anglo American manganese unit

Comments (0) Africa, Business, Latest Updates from Reuters

SYDNEY (Reuters) – South32 could be among the first to buy assets placed on the block this week by South Africa’s Anglo American, with the Australian company saying it was interested in its manganese unit.

The two companies share a manganese mining and smelting business located in Australia and South Africa, with Anglo American owning 40 percent of the division.

RBC last year valued South32’s stake in manganese at around $1.8 billion, though that was before the metal halved in price.

“As a JV partner with a deep understanding of their value, we would be a buyer if the price is right,” a South32 spokeswoman said in an emailed statement, confirming a report in the Sydney Morning Herald newspaper website.

News of the interest from South32, the diversified minerals group spun out of BHP Billiton last year, comes as Anglo American turns to widespread divestment to shore up a heavily indebted balance sheet.

South32 indicated negotiations had already started to acquire Anglo American’s manganese business.

“We have a good relationship with our joint venture partner and they’ve communicated their intentions,” the statement said.

Manganese can be found in drink cans to improve resistance to corrosion. Ahead of Anglo American unveiling plans this week to cut net debt in half, South32 had been mentioned as a potential buyer of Anglo American’s niobium business.

Anglo American on Feb. 16 detailed a drastic plan to hack and slash its sprawling empire of mining assets, paring it back to diamonds, copper and platinum.

Any acquisition, though, would come at a tough time for manganese producers.

Weak prices for the metal have already led South32 to suspend mining at its Hotazel mining division in South Africa This has removed around 700,000 tonnes of manganese ore production from the global supply chain.

South32 shares were nearly 5 percent higher at A$1.26 in late trading on Thursday, double the gains of the wider market. But the stock has still lost nearly half its value since listing in May.


(By James Regan. Reporting by James Regan; Editing by Muralikumar Anantharaman)

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South32 to cut more than 400 jobs at South African manganese mine

Comments (0) Africa, Business, Latest Updates from Reuters

JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) – Australian-listed South32 plans to cut 447 jobs at a South African manganese mine, the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) said on Monday, in the latest in a slew of layoffs in the embattled industry.

The union, which is the country’s largest mining labour body, said it had received notice from South32 that the company planned to cut the jobs and called on the mines ministry to “intervene to halt” to prevent the layoffs.

NUM said over 1,000 workers are employed at the Hotazel mine in Kuruman, about 550 km (341 miles) south east of Johannesburg.

South32 spokeswoman Lulu Letlape said the company was consulting with employees through unions on job cuts. Voluntary redundancies and early retirements were being considered to minimize the impact on workers, she said.

South32 produces manganese, silver, nickel and coking coal, some of the industrial mainstays that have been hardest hit globally in the wake of China’s economic slowdown.

South32, which was spun off from BHP Billiton in May, said its review of its South African manganese operations would be completed by December and said its mines were unlikely to restart until January.

Mining companies in South Africa are under pressure from rising costs and falling prices, forcing companies to close shafts and cut jobs to survive, angering unions, which have opposed the layoffs.


(Reporting by Zandi Shabalala; Editing by James Macharia and Louise Heavens)

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