Archive for the ‘People’ Category


At this link is an interview with Anglo American’s Mark Cutifani on the past progress and promised future performance of Anglo American.  His message: we will get there, with there being a 15% return on capital employed (ROCE).

They did not achieve this and in fact fell from 11% to 10%.  Reasons include the strike on the platinum mines in South Africa, the fact that of 69 assets, some 30 are not contributing to profit, and a fall in the price of many commodities they mine.  Ultimately Anglo seeks a debt load of no more than $15M.  I wonder what their closure cost fund is by comparison.  May be reduced by selling those mines with large closure costs on the books.

Cutifani was quick to point out that Anglo is looking to sell the underperforming assets: mines not making a profit, or mines that need more capital than Anglo is prepared to invest.  Seems there is no end of companies looking to buy.  These past two weeks I have been touched (not involved) in mining projects where the current owners are looking to sell and new companies and investor groups looking to buy.  Hope they do their due diligence.  For I cannot understand why any sane person would purchase these “assets.”  As one consultant confided to me: “They have too much spare cash and too big a self-confidence ego.”

Still I would rather park my spare cash with Cutifani and his obvious intellect and drive than some of the prospective purchasers I have met recently.

The interview is full of statistics.  Listen, write them down, and decide if you want to invest in Anglo American.

Not a great indicator of investment performance, but still a great statistic is the 32% reduction in accidents and the 60% reduction in fatalities.  Albeit three people died, which is a remarkable safety record if you think of past days.    The interviewer noted that with 20,000 on strike for five months in South Africa it is almost inevitable the safety number increase.  Cutifani countered with more detailed statistics that show this is not the case: in practice the reduction is 20 to 30% if those on strike are accounted for.

In short Cutifani emphasizes:  we are getting the basics right.  This will still take a lot of change–change many may not like–except the investors.  Are you one of them?







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Here is a copy of an email alert that I received today.  All about a new book on gender in mining.  I quote below from the email and from the Amazon.com site where you can buy the book. (more…)

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Here are two links to two very different reports on Tahoe’s Escobal mine in Guatemala.  I need to rush to join clients for drinks and supper, so no comment other than to repeat what one of the articles reports on what I said in an interview with the reporter.  Oh Dear! (more…)

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Last Saturday night we went to Bard on the Beach to watch The Tempest.  First a supper on the grass beneath the trees: wine; bread, sushi; and a whole roast chicken eaten with gusto and more wine.  And an avoidance of the rain that threatened and then came in gusts during the performance. (more…)

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A recent email and links to sites worth taking a look at. (more…)

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The final day of the conference Paste 2014 in Vancouver today.  The keynote was about filter pressed tailings management at Pogo in Alaska.  Too complex to blog about, but worth reading the paper and looking at the PowerPoint presentation when they available on InfoMine. (more…)

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Mike Jacobs of Goldcorp presented the keynote address today at Paste 2014 in Vancouver.  His topic:  Where mining meets the public–and why water is so important? He told us that Goldcorp annually publishes the statistics of the use of water at all its mines.  Commendable. Then he told us of the First Nations prayer ceremonies at the opening and closing of water seasons at their mines.  Incredible. (more…)

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The first official day of conference sessions at the Paste 2014 conference here in Vancouver.  Sean Wells, Director of Research for Suncor presented the opening keynote address. I cannot possibly here recount all he said.  All I can do is note a few points that he made that stuck with me.  In due course, his PowerPoint presentation will be available through InfoMine.  Get it and take deep thought over it, for his points are provocative, timely, and scary. He noted that the problems of oil sands tailings management are all about scale.  They oil sands produce so much tailings that the shear volumes and areas needed introduce problems not encountered in conventional tailings management.  I have heard it said that the two oil sands mines, Suncor and Syncrude, produce more tailings per day than the combined total of all the other mines worldwide.  His point is made. (more…)

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Day one of the  conference Paste 2014.   Actually the actual conference begins tomorrow.  Today there were short courses and meeting of friends and fellow travellers on the mining journey.  The most beautiful was a lovely lady from Brazil who is studying at the university of British Columbia for a semester and will be a mining engineer in a year or two.  We chatted over lunch and if she is, as I believe she will be, the future of mining, the profession is in good and beautiful hands. (more…)

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Today was the first of five days of events associated with the conference Paste 2014.  One course today; two courses tomorrow; and then three days of papers and presentations. So last night out drinking with old friends come to the conference.  Today a long ride around Vancouver with one who survived last night’s drinking–we lunched at The Bridges at Granville Island.  And we explored all the things right & wrong with tailings management.  And lost loves and failed marriages.  In the sun and trees of a perfect summer day, who cares about these things.  They are past and only the present and future count. (more…)

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