The Royal Court of Jersey approves the Randgold - Barrick merger. For the aficionados of Randgold Resources and of its carismatic leader Mark Bristow, the merge represents the end of a pure African gold mining company. Although their projects will remain in Africa, the company philosophy will change and will adapt to a bigger structure.
...A little nostalgia...
When in 1995 I met Mark in his office in Jo'Burg, it was as a job seeker. I left an engineering office in Switzerland to try to work in what I dreamed for Exploration. My trip was a real experience with a stop in Khartoum (Sudan). After beeing lost in a township, I arrived late, but he was waiting for me. After a good discussion he asked me which company I met before. I answered Anglo and Goldfields. He said: "mmmh there is little chance you choose Randgold"... He was right I chose Anglo American because of the challenge they proposed to me and the logistics which could support my ambitions. Thus we met again in Bamako, where we talked sometimes during monthly join meeting with explorers in Mali .
They worked on Morilla and Loulo, I worked on Kangare and Sadiola exploration (Farabakouta East, North and Tambali South) Then I followed up from afar the progress of their exploration. Later, when advising a big investment fund in Switzerland, I could take in my hand one of the first gold poured at Loulo. For that I must thank Mark, who has always combined the managerial and entrepreneur skills with the geologist he is.
His track record is impressive. During 18 years he has built year after year the company value and has consolidated exploration knowledge and know how. Randgold discovered gold deposits and as a result in 2018, four mines are producing about 1.3Moz per year at a total cash cost of production ranging $590/oz - $640/oz. During that time share price rose more than 10 times!
Mark could retire but he has decided to be the CEO of the new Barrick. I wish him plenty of success and to try to improve the sustainability of the mining activity and to reduce its impacts.
Trading in Randgold shares on the London Stock Exchange and NASDAQ will be halted on 31 December 2018 and the combined group’s shares will start trading on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) and the Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX) on 2 January 2019 under the Barrick name. (source Randgold)
Recommendation of interim dividend payment of USD 2.69 per share. The interim dividend will be paid on 11 January 2019 to Randgold Shareholders.
Hydrogen fuel cells might take a greater role within renewable energy storage solutions and in transportation of goods. Transport by ship, heavy truck or railway require different performances and Fuel Cells stand out as an advantageous solution. >read<
This diversification in eco-friendly solutions seems to gently grow. In last July, Alstom was granted the approval by the German Railway Office (EBA) for the commercial operation of an hydrogen fuel cell passenger train. Alstom's Coradia iLint is the world's first hydrogen fuel cell passenger train. This is historical!
Hyundai, the world’s fifth largest automaker is taking opportunities for expanding in other markets.
Heavy trucks and transport of goods are a new market for battery and fuel cells vehicles. Hyundai is positioning in this market and aims to compete with Tesla and Daimler. Tesla and Daimler plan to introduce battery-powered trucks in 2020 and 2021.
Hyundai Motor will collaborate with the swiss private company H2 Energy. Hyundai plans to provide 1'000 fuel cell electric trucks to Swiss commercial vehicle market, beginning 2019 through to 2023.
Fuel Cells car represent small volume of sale. Only 1000 Tucson fuel cell cars (Hyundai) were sold since 2013 and Toyota sold about 7000 of Mirai hydrogen cars since 2014.
Impala Platinum (Implats) has revealed it will close five of its 11 mining operations and slice 13'000 jobs in South Africa following a strategic review of its business. Platinum sector is dramatically hit buy the metal price on markets.
According to the World Platinum Investment Council "The market is forecast to be in surplus for the year with Above Ground Stocks expected to end the year at 2,495 koz." Moreover investment demand is expected to be "largely" flat and ETF holdings reduced in Q2.
Reduced production capacity. Critical growth of unemployment in the Bushveld region.Loss of experienced workforce. Weaken of a major economic sector in South Africa. Platinum industry consolidation in progress.
Impala changes will be implemented over a two-year period in order to reduce socio-economic impacts and mitigate risk.In addition to its drop down to six operating shafts and 27'000 labourers, the company will reduce its future production from 750Koz platinum ounces per year to 520Koz.
CEO Nico Muller said that "it will be reducing exposure to higher-cost, less flexible and labour-intensive operations, so it can boost its flexibility, capacity and sustainability in the changing market conditions".
Platinum usage in automotive applications is difficult to assess regarding the lack of clear information from automakers about their strategies to meet EU CO2 levels. Moreover auto catalyst fabricators are unwilling to disclose platinum volume used in order to avoid any variation in metal price.
Having assess in the past the volume of Pt required in efficient catalyst, we know that higher platinum loadings are needed to comply with Nox emissions limit. However today the automotive market is changing with more diversification of models EV's (BEV, PHEV, etc..) Gasoline hybrid and diesel hybrids. Projection of EV's sales are exponential, whereas diesel cars are more and more banned of cities on a short term. The historical vulnerability of platinum price volatility and the exposure to South African politics play a role in new materials design and technology choices.
The recycling of diesel catalyst will undoubtly contribute to decrease the demand from mining raw material.
On a technological point of view, nano technologies contribute also to minimize the amount of platinum needed for catalysts.
In such a market context where new challenges arise in environmental regulations, geopolitics, carmakers competitiveness and to global economics; it is very difficult to make projections for the industrial demand. But demand for platinum might be very different from what it was in the past.
Hydrogen fuel cells might take a greater role within renewable energy storage solutions and in transportation of goods. Transport by ship, heavy truck or railway require different performances and Fuel Cells stand out as an advantageous solution. - LK-