Africa brief: Niger Uranium mine strike on hold, Ivory Coast gold mine, Egypt IMF loan deal, cloud services and more

Niger: Uranium mine strike on hold

Areva’s Cominak uranium mine in northern Niger returned to work at the weekend after a 48-hour strike but unions warned they would take further action after today if the company did not boost bonus pay Mining unions said they had called their stoppage because Cominak paid workers too low a bonus after under-declaring profits for last year.

“This was a warning strike. Cominak’s management has until Monday to make a satisfactory offer, otherwise we will hold another strike,” said Inoua Neino, the general secretary of the National Union of Mine Workers of Niger.

For the full story, read NIGER: Uranium mine strike on hold, by Reuters, published by The Star, Business Report on 22/04/13

Ivory Coast: Aussie firm to build gold mine

Australia’s Perseus Mining expected to start building the $160 million (R1.4 billion) Sissingue gold mine in Ivory Coast in the middle of this year despite the recent slide in gold prices to a two-year low, its chief executive, Jeff Quartermaine, said on Friday Quartermaine said while the company was not immune to the falling gold price it would need to fall much further to start causing Perseus any difficulty.

For the full story, read Ivory Coast: Aussie firm to build gold mine, by Reuters, published by The Star, Business Report on 22/04/13

Egypt: IMF still keen to do loan deal

The head of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) at the weekend declared the IMF “would not give up, would not leave the table” until it had struck a loan deal with Egypt. IMF managing director Christine Lagarde declined to say when a deal could be struck but said she had met with Egyptian officials on the sidelines of weekend IMF meetings in Washington. There have been repeated delays in granting a proposed $4.8 billion (R44.3bn) loan due to political turmoil.

For the full story, read Egypt: IMF still keen to do loan deal, by Reuters, published by The Star, Business Report on 22/04/13

SAP to focus on cloud services for African growth

Germany’s most valuable company by market capitalisation, business software maker SAP, says it will grow rapidly in Africa through cloud services. The business software maker on Friday released its financial results for the first quarter to March. It achieved 23% or 25% growth, at constant currencies, in non-Interna­tional Financial Reporting Stan­dards (IFRS) software and cloud sub­scription revenue in the quarter

For the full story, read SAP to focus on cloud services for African Growth, by, Alistair Anderson, published by Business Day on 22/04/13

SA, China top exhibitors at Zimbabwe fair

SA and China have the highest number of exhibitors at Zimbabwe’s premier international trade fair, which starts today. Zimbabwe International Trade Fair chairman Bekithemba Nkomo said yesterday that with 95% of exhibition space sold, SA and China had the largest representation. Analysts have speculated that the high interest from SA and China was a reflection of the race between the two countries to make inroads into Zimbabwe’s economy. SA’s Deputy Trade and Industry Minister Elizabeth Thabethe is scheduled to address a business breakfast tomorrow. Issues for consideration at the meeting include funding and access to markets for small to medium-size enterprises. The instability in SA’s mining has made Zimbabwe a lucrative desti¬nation for investment in the sector, while the “Look East” policy President Robert Mugabe embarked in 2003 had endeared the country to the Chinese. Investors are also now at a point where they are willing to work with whomever wins elections and runs the government.

For the full story, read SA, China top exhibitors at Zimbabwe fair, by Ray Ndlovu, published by Business Day on 23/04/13

Gemfields inaugural precious-stone sale in Zambia yields mixed results

Gemfields, the London-listed gem producer, showed mixed results for its inaugural sale in Zambia, a sign of what may lie in store if it is barred from exporting precious stones. Earlier this month, investors knocked a third off its market capitalisation on news that the Zambian government had directed the company to sell its gem stones in Zambia alone.

Mr Mukanga has argued that Zambia wants to retain as much value as possible from gemstones and es¬tablish an exchange to sell them. Gemfields is the largest single source of emeralds and it mines them in a northern Zambia operation, Kagem, which is 75% owned by the company and the balance by the government. The first Zambian sale of emeralds and beryl by Gemfields was held between April 15 and 19 in Lusaka and the results were mixed. The total sales value was $15.2m compared with the auction in Jaipur, India, in June last year, when just $9m worth of stones were sold.

However, the Indian sale realised $2.61 a carat compared with $2.42 a carat in Lusaka, and Gemfields said this marked the “first reversal of the historic growth trajectory in lower-quality auction prices”. Gemfields offered 17.3-million carats of lower-quality stones, a similar grade of gems as the Indian auction when about 11-million carats were up for sale. Mr Gilbertson said Gemfields had yet to have a formal meeting with Mr Mukanga and it was not entirely sure it could hold a planned auction of higher-quality gems in Singapore in mid-June.

For the full story, read Gemfields inaugural precious-stone sale in Zambia yields mixed results, by Allan Seccombe, published by Business Day on 23/04/13

David Okwara

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