Global Mining conglomerate, Anglo American closed 2018 on a high note registering significant growth in production during the last quarter of year.
Anglo operates and owns significant stakes in all major mineral business interests across the world. The company’s flagship mines are in Africa, Canada being another host of key revenue generating business for the over 100 years mining giant. For the last 3 months of 2018 the Group which is listed in various stock markets including Botswana Stock Exchange reported a 7% increase in total production on a copper equivalent basis excluding the effect of the stoppage at Minas-Rio.
According to a report released by Anglo this week, the company’s diamond production basket De Beers, world’s leading diamond outfit increased its production output during the period under review by12% to rake in 9.1 million carats bringing total production for the year 2018 to 35.3 million carats. Anglo says the growth is attributable to a planned production increase at Orapa mine, although this was in the lower half of the production guidance range of 35-36 million carats.
A closer look at Debswana, De Beers‘s flagship rough diamond miner, indicates that production increased by 15% to 6.3 million carats. Production at Orapa grew by 20% to 3.6 million carats predominantly driven by planned favorable grade and higher plant utilization. At Jwaneng, the world’s richest diamond mine by value, production output went up by 9% following an increase in tonnes treated. Debswana is a leading rough diamond producer accounting for over 60 percent of De Beers total rough diamond output.
Namdeb Holdings, a 50-50 venture between De Beers and Namibian Government also registered growth in production, dispatching a 3 percent increase to close the quarter a 0.5 million carats. According to the JSE listed mining giant growth at Namdeb was driven by the Mafuta crawler vessel at Debmarine Namibia spending fewer days in port. “This was partly offset by the land operations following the transition of Elizabeth Bay to care and maintenance,” reads the report.
At the De Beers business in South Africa, rough diamond production increased by 7% to 1.2 million carats as a result of planned higher grade ore at Venetia while in Canada production increased by 5% to 1.0 million carats due to higher grades at Victor as it reaches the end of its life. Anglo says the 5 % growth registered in Canada was partially attributable to planned lower grades at Gahcho Kué.
In total volumes, rough diamond sales ended the period under review at 9.9 million carats mirroring 9.3 million carats on a consolidated basis from three sales cycles, compared to 8.2 million carats, 7.5 million carats on a consolidated basis for same number of sales cycles during the equivalent period in 2017.
Anglo American copper production increased by 23% to 183,500 tonnes, registering the highest tonnage since Q4 2013, with production increases at all operations and record copper in concentrate production at Collahuasi. Production from Los Bronces increased by 31% to 99,000 tonnes, driven by continued strong mine and plant performance and planned higher grades.
For Platinum mines, one of Anglo American’s traditional money spinning mineral interests, production increased by 3% to 602,300 ounces while palladium production increased by 3% to 386,600 ounces, due to improved operational performances across the majority of the portfolio. Own mined platinum production decreased by 12% to 307,500 ounces and palladium production decreased by 7% to 234,800 ounces due to the sale of Union mine on 1 February 2018, after which its production was purchased as concentrate.
For refined platinum, production output registered 7% growth up to 770,900 ounces, while palladium production was flat at 493,800 ounces. “Platinum sales volumes which excluding refined metal purchased from third parties increased by 8% to 776,900 ounces due to higher refined production, supplemented by a draw down in refined platinum stocks,” explains the report.
Anglo further reports that its IRON basket shrunk by 13% bringing production volumes to 10.2 million tonnes as planned to offset elevated stock levels at the mines resulting from Transnet rail constraints. “Plant yields remained slightly lower, in line with the strategy of producing higher quality products, to maximize the value of tonnes railed to port and to benefit from the strong demand for high-grade ore” explains Anglo. The Mining giant also says as a result of this decline, full year production of 43.1 million tonnes was at the lower end of the guidance range.
Under the coal segment, metallurgical coal production increased by 15% to 5.6 million tonnes, with productivity improvements at Moranbah offsetting the impact of a long wall move at Grasstree, which started in December 2018. “Grosvenor production also increased year-on-year, but was significantly lower than in Q3 2018 due to a longwall move, which was completed in late December 2018.”
Export thermal Coal production from Anglo’s South African outfits decreased marginally by 2% to 4.5 million tonnes, as operations continue to transit between mining areas. Domestic thermal coal production decreased by 54% to 3.3 million tonnes due to the completion of the sale of the Eskom-tied operations. Export thermal Coal Colombia production from Cerrejón decreased by 19% to 2.4 million tonnes as a result of high rainfall in Q4 2018.
Anglo America Chief Executive Officer Mark Cutifani said expenditure for the fourth quarter increased by 19% to $80 million compared to the same period of 2017. He further notes that exploration expenditure decreased by 6% to $29 million largely driven by adverse weather and delays with access. “Our continuing focus on efficiency and productivity improvements across the business resulted in another strong quarter, adding to our consistent track record of delivery,” he said.
Despite Covid-19 interrupting trade worldwide, exporting companies in Botswana which benefited from the Botswana Investment and Trade Centre (BITC) services realised P2.96 billion in export earnings during the period from April 2020 to March 2021.
In the preceding financial year, the sale of locally manufactured products in foreign markets had registered export revenue of P2, 427 billion against a target of P3, 211 billion BITC, which celebrates 10 years since establishment, continues to carry out several initiatives targeted towards expanding the Botswana export base in line with Botswana’s desire to be an export led economy, underpinned by a robust export promotion programme in line with the National Export Strategy.
The main products exported were swamp cruiser boats, pvc tanks and pvc pipes, ignition wiring sets, semi-precious stones, veterinary medicines, hair braids, coal, textiles (towels and t-shirts) and automobile batteries. These goods were destined mainly for South Africa, Zimbabwe, Austria, Germany, and Namibia.
With Covid-19 still a problem, BITC continues to roll out targeted virtual trade promotion missions across the SADC region with a view to seeking long-lasting market opportunities for locally manufactured products.
Recently, the Centre facilitated participation for Botswana companies at the Eastern Cape Development Council (ECDC) Virtual Export Symposium, the Botswana-Zimbabwe Virtual Trade Mission, the Botswana-Zambia Virtual Trade Mission, Botswana-South Africa Virtual Buyer/Seller Mission as well as the Botswana-Namibia Virtual Trade Mission.
BITC has introduced an e-Exporting programme aimed at assisting Botswana exporters to conduct business on several recommended e-commerce platforms. Due to the advent of COVID-19, BITC is currently promoting e-trade among companies through the establishment of e-commerce platforms and is assisting local companies to embrace digitisation by adopting e-commerce platforms to reach export markets as well as assisting local e-commerce platform developers to scale up their online marketplaces.
During the 2019/2020 financial year, BITC embarked on several initiatives targeted at growing exports in the country; facilitation of participation of local companies in international trade platforms in order to enhance export sales of local products and services into external markets.
BITC also helped in capacity development of local companies to compete in global markets and the nurturing of export awareness and culture among local manufacturers in order to enhance their skills and knowledge of export processes; and in development and implementation of trade facilitation tools that look to improve the overall ease of doing business in Botswana.
As part of building export capacity in 2019/20, six (6) companies were selected to initiate a process to be Organic and Fair Trade Certified. These companies are; Blue Pride (Pty) Ltd, Motlopi Beverages, Moringa Technology Industries (Pty) Ltd, Sleek Foods, Maungo Craft and Divine Morula.
In 2019 seven companies which were enrolled in the Botswana Exporter Development Programme were capacitated with attaining BOBS ISO 9001: 2015 certification. Three (3) companies successfully attained BOBS ISO 9001:2015 certification. These were Lithoflex (Pty) Ltd, General Packaging Industries and Power Engineering.
BITC’s annual flagship exhibition, Global Expo Botswana (GEB) to create opportunities for trade and strategic synergies between local and international companies. The Global Expo Botswana) is a premier business to business exposition that attracts FDI, expansion of domestic investment, promotion of exports of locally produced goods and services and promotion of trade between Botswana and other countries.
The portal also provides information on; measures, legal documents, and forms and procedures needed by Botswana companies that intend on doing business abroad. BITC continues to assist both potential and existing local manufacturing and service entities to realise their export ambitions. This assistance is pursued through the ambit of the Botswana Exporter Development Programme (BEDP) and the Trade Promotion Programme.
BEDP was revised in 2020 in partnership with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) with a vision to developing a diversified export-based economy. The programme focuses mostly on capacitating companies to reach export readiness status.
Prices for goods and services in this country continue to increase, with the latest figures from Statistics Botswana showing that in May 2022, inflation rate rose to 11.9 percent from 9.6 percent recorded in April 2022.
According to Statistics Botswana update released this week, the largest upward contributions to the annual inflation rate in May 2022 came from increase in the cost of transport (7.2 percent), housing, water, electricity, gas & other Fuels (1.4 percent), food & non-alcoholic beverages (1.1 percent) and miscellaneous goods & services (0.8 percent).
With regard to regional inflation rates between April and May 2022, the Rural Villages inflation rate went up by 2.5 percentage points, from 9.6 percent in April to 12.1 percent in May 2022, according to the government owned statistics entity.
In the monthly update the entity stated that the Urban Villages inflation rate stood at 11.8 percent in May 2022, a rise of 2.4 percentage points from the April rate of 9.4 percent, whereas the Cities & Towns inflation rate recorded an increase of 1.9 percentage points, from 9.9 percent in April to 11.8 percent in May.
Commenting on the national Consumer Price Index, the entity stated that it went up by 2.6 percent, from 120.1 in April to 123.2 in May 2022. Statisticians from the entity noted that the transport group index registered an increase of 7.3 percent, from 134.5 in April to 144.2 in May, mainly due to the rise in retail pump prices for petrol and diesel by P1.54 and P2.74 per litre respectively, which effected on the 13th of May 2022.
The food & non-alcoholic beverages group index rose by 2.6 percent, from 118.6 in April 2022 to 121.6 in May 2022 and this came as a result of increase in prices of oils & fats, vegetables, bread & cereal, mineral waters, soft drinks, fruits & vegetables juices, fish (Fresh, Chilled & Frozen) and meat (Fresh, Chilled & Frozen), according to the Statisticians.
The Statisticians said the furnishing, household equipment & routine maintenance group index rose by 1.0 percent, from 111.6 in April 2022 to 112.7 in May 2022 and this was attributed to a general increase in prices of household appliances, glassware, tableware & household utensils and goods & services for household maintenance.
The prices for clothing & footwear group index moved from 109.4 to 110.4, registering a rise of 0.9 percent during the period under review. Bank of Botswana has projected higher inflation in the short term, associated with the likelihood of further increases in domestic fuel prices in response to persistent high international oil prices and added that the possible increase in public service salaries could add also upward pressure to inflation in this country.
In the latest June 2022 global economic prospects, released last week the World Bank has warned that low global economic growth and economic activity in global commodity markets such as China and Europe could negatively affect export revenues for Botswana and other Sub Saharan countries.
Recent data from Statistics Botswana show that Botswana’s exports destined to the global markets such as Asia and the European Union (EU) on monthly basis accounts for around 60.1 percent and 20.1 percent respectively.
The World Bank last week lowered its 2022 projections of global economic growth and indicated that the new forecasts could be bad news for countries like Botswana who are dependent on export mineral revenues. The Bank noted that just over two years after COVID-19 caused the deepest global recession since World War II, the world economy is again in danger and stated that this time it is facing high inflation and slow growth at the same time.
In the recent June projections, the bank lowered its forecast of global economic growth from the January 4.1 percent to 2.1 percent. “Our June forecasts reflect a sizable downgrade to the outlook: global growth is expected to slow sharply from 5.7 percent in 2021 to 2.9 percent this year. This also reflects a nearly one-third cut to our January 2022 forecast for this year of 4.1 percent,” a team of World Bank economists noted in the June 2022 Global Economic Prospects.
The World Bank indicated that exports from Botswana and other Sub Saharan countries could suffer from a substantial deceleration of activity in China and Europe. The Bank noted that exporters of industrial metals, crude oil, and ores such as Angola, Democratic Republic of Congo, Republic of Congo, South Africa, and Zambia could suffer from a substantial deceleration of activity in China.
On the other hand a sharp contraction of growth in the euro area could hurt exporters of agricultural products such as beef, coffee, tea, tobacco, cotton, and textiles from Botswana, Ethiopia, Madagascar and Malawi. “The faster-than-expected deceleration of the global economy and increased volatility of commodity prices could hurt many SSA commodity exporters,” said World Bank President David Malpass.
Malpass indicated that subdued growth in the global markets for Botswana and other Sub Saharan exports will likely persist throughout the decade because of weak investment in most of the world.
He noted that with inflation now running at multi-decade highs in many countries and supply expected to grow slowly, inflation could remain higher for longer than currently anticipated. “Even if a global recession is averted, the pain of stagflation could persist for several years— unless major supply increases are set in motion. Amid the war in Ukraine, surging inflation, and rising interest rates, global economic growth is expected to slump in 2022. Several years of above-average inflation and below-average growth are now likely,” said Malpass.