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DE BEERS which is owned by Anglo American is doing very well this year.This is now mainly been driven by China which is expected to drive the market for the next five years as Chinese brides now prefer diamonds to gold.All other diamond mines should also benefit from this trend.
The world now seems a safer place ,if the Russian plan to hand the Syrian weapons to the United Nations goes ahead.Anyway the pedal has been removed from the war stance and markets are recovering again.Chinese trade figures have also turned positive this week.Our local strikes all now seem to be going to be resolved in a more amicable manner with increases below 10%.Workers now understand the gravity of our local situation.Our weaker Rand will lead to an increase in the price received for our local products and minerals.
OFFICIAL STRIKE ACTION has started in earnest this morning at mostly gold related mines.As the mines are on a tight -rope alread running at near losses they can ill afford these actions.There can be no increases in wages with out increases in productivity levels.These levels have been declining for several years now.
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Mechanisation was tried about ten years ago by LONMIN in it platinum mines.It was the first company to do so.It turned out to be a complete failure.Our Gold mines are very deep and by conventional methods the gold is nearly worked out.It has been partly political pressure that has kept the mines on a large manual footing,employing hundreds of thousands of workers.
All that is about to change and the realisation by all the parties that things have to change is slowly dawning on all.
A completely new method of mining GOLD
is coming to the fore.Instead of bringing rock carrying the gold to the surface to crush etc.It has been found that with a new method just the GOLD REEF can be removed with chemical and other methods and the rest of the granite left in place.In the past sections of the mines had to be left in place ,if I remember correctly every 27 yards of a square of 27 yards were left to keep the roof up and in between pillars of wood would be put in place for further reinforcement.NOW A METHOD OF BACK FILL is to be used and all the Gold areas not yet mined can be utilised.
GRAHAM ,Ceo of Harmony has pointed that as much gold as has been removed from the mines in the last hundred years remains to be removed.Most of it at reasonable shallower levels.
THE MAIN GAME CHANGER WILL BE ROBOTICS NOT JUST MECHANISATION.THE ADVANTAGE OF THIS WILL BE LESS DANGEROUS WORKING CONDITIONS AVOIDING PRESSURE BURSTS THAT ARE LIFE THREATENING AS THE MINES BECOME DEEPER.ALL THIS WILL OF COURSE TAKE TIME,BUT WILL BE LESS LABOUR INTENSIVE AND ALLOW THE MINES TO SURVIVE,SO ATTRACTING CAPITAL TO EXTEND THE LIFE OF MINES.