HILARY JOFFE: Sibanye turns Marikana legacy around but SA's slide continues

30 August 2020 - 00:03

The year 2012 will forever go down in SA's history as the year of Marikana. But 2012 was also the year of the first downgrade of SA's credit rating by Moody's, which at that point had an A-grade rating on SA. The legacy of one of those events is being addressed to create a new future. The other, not so much. This week saw fairly spectacular interim results from the new owner of the Lonmin platinum group metals (PGM) mines where 44 people were killed in 2012. Precious metals producer Sibanye-Stillwater, which bought the mines in June last year, posted record earnings as soaring PGM and gold prices offset the fact that its South African mines produced at only 50% in the first half of this year because of the lockdown.

The company's big push into PGMs since 2016 has paid off richly, setting it up as a leading global producer just in time for the prices of “rock-star commodities” such as rhodium, ruthenium and palladium (as well as gold) to take off. But it's still really odd to hear “Marikana” in a financial results presentation, referring to mine shafts rather than to miners being shot...

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