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ABN Business Briefs
Johannesburg, (ABN)
Posted Tue, 20 Mar 2012

South Africa Mining Fatalities
Fatalities are falling in South Africa's mines as the industry is subjected to a surge of inspections, and the country's mines minister says she will not relent despite industry complaints. Susan Shabangu said that for the first three months of the year, 22 miners were killed in South Africa's mines compared to 27 in the same period last year. The number of injuries fell sharply over the same period by 40 percent to 403. She said that whilst there is improvement in the statistics, she's of the opinion that there is room for improvement as the fatalities in the mining industry are still unacceptable.

Anglo American
Anglo American is looking to acquire iron ore assets in Australia and Africa as it strives to increase its footprint in the sector. James Harman, head of business development for iron ore and coal for AngloAmerican said that they are on the lookout for value-adding iron ore opportunities and that Australia and Africa were its preferred locations. Harman said that AngloAmerican will be producing around 80 million tonnes of iron ore per year from its existing operations in Brazil and South Africa by 2014.

Tanzania Coffee
Tanzania has revised downwards its coffee output for this season and prices fell sharply at last week's auction. The auction was hurt by low quality beans at the end of the season and declining arabica prices at the world market. The state-run Tanzania Coffee Board lowered its estimate for the 2011/12 crop to a yield of 35 thousand 500 tonnes, moving it further below the 56 thousand tonnes of coffee produced in the previous season.

Kenya Coffee
Kenya cut short a two-week suspension of its weekly coffee auctions, resuming trading to safeguard the interests of local farmers, traders and industry officials. The east Africa nation last week postponed its coffee sales by a fortnight citing a dispute over the illegal sale of bean samples. Martin Ngare, the secretary of the Commercial Coffee Millers and Marketing Agents Association said that they agreed to resume trading for the sake of farmers. The Nairobi Coffee Exchange said that last week some marketers declined to present the required weight of samples, forcing the session's cancellation.

BHP sees China Demand Flattening
BHP Billiton is seeing signs that iron ore demand from top consumer China is flattening but is pushing ahead with its ambitious plans to expand production. The group's iron ore division president, Ian Ashby said that growth is going to flatten off. BHP has being pursuing a strategy of running at full production and expanding capacity in long-life, low-cost commodity assets. Ashby said that BHP was sticking with its $10 billion iron ore expansion plan and was mining ore at a rate of 165 to 170 million tonnes per year.

Rio Tinto Expansion Plans well underway
Rio Tinto has said that its plans to expand production were well advanced for completion next year despite concerns over cooling demand in China. The company plans to boost output from its mines in Australia's western Pilbara iron belt to 283 million tonnes a year by the second half of 2013, up from the current 225 million tonnes.

Cashbuild Interim Results
Cashbuild's half year headline earnings per share jumped 134% to 657 cents. Excluding the BEE transaction, where the group repurchased R50 million worth of shares from the Empowerment Trust, headline earnings were only up 24%. Revenue rose 9% to R3.2 billion as the 185 pre-existing stores accounted for 8% of the increase while six new stores accounted for the remaining 1%. Southern Africa's largest retailer of building materials remains positive about the top line trading prospects for the next quarter. The first nine trading weeks since period-end have seen an increase in revenue of 10%.

Nigeria Oil Revenue
Nigeria earned 766 billion naira in oil revenues in February, up 15 percent, owing to higher petroleum revenues. Accountant general Jonah Otunla said that the rise was due to an increase in Petroleum Profit Tax collections for the months of December and January, as well as upward review of PPT estimates by oil companies. He added that 620 billion had been distributed to its three tiers of government, compared with 614 billion the previous month.

Sudan Funding
Sudan aims to raise $1 to $1.5 billion this year with Islamic "sukuk" bonds that offer stakes in an oil pipeline, a move the African country hopes will draw more Gulf Arab investment to its debt market. Azhari Eltayeb Elfaki, general manager at Sudan Financial Services said that they want to offer the dollar-denominated sukuk within two months. The debt agency is also preparing to issue sukuk that will be repaid with profits from gold exports and which investors will be able to buy in foreign or local currency. Sudan lost about three quarters of its oil output when South Sudan seceded in July, aggravating a foreign currency shortage, budget gap and high inflation in the north.

Zambia Farmers
Commercial maize production in Zambia will fall by about 80 percent in the 2011/2012 season compared with the previous crop season after farmers turn to more lucrative cash crops. Zambia National Farmers' Union spokesman Calvin Kaleyi said that maize output by commercial farmers will fall to 60 thousand tonnes in 2012. Zambia's commercial maize farmers produce a fraction of the national output compared to small-scale farmers. Kaleyi said that the expected lower output is due to the fact that most commercial farmers have gone into soya beans and other crops with ready market and more attractive prices.

China to Hike fuel prices
China will raise gasoline and diesel prices for the second time in less than six weeks by between 6 and 7% after crude gained the most in a year last month. This marks the biggest increase since June 2009.

IPOs from Miners expected in London
The mining sector could bring a flurry of IPOs to London and elsewhere in the second half of 2012 after several lean years for investors and bankers. The IPO waiting list is building for all sectors, and from large to small caps, after many were shelved in the turbulence of the last few years.

Rio Tinto Expansion Plans well underway
Rio Tinto has said that its plans to expand production were well advanced for completion next year despite concerns over cooling demand in China. The company plans to boost output from its mines in Australia's western Pilbara iron belt to 283 million tonnes a year by the second half of 2013, up from the current 225 million tonnes.



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