South Africa weighs fate of 300,000 jobs
Saturday 08 May 1999
For a country in which the daily gold price and the value of the rand are everyday concerns, the British announcement came as a new blow to a beleaguered economy. An analyst at Johannesburg-based Rice Rinaldi Securities said: "The industry has already largely completed its restructuring in response to the decline in the gold price so this is not the end of the world. However, if the trend continues and the price breaks the $270 barrier, then marginal mines with high production costs will look again at their staffing levels. I think the market will recover but this was not kind of Britain," said the analyst.
There was some criticism in South Africa of the Treasury's move to announce the forthcoming sale a long time in advance of the first auction, thus deepening anxiety in an already jittery market.
"Two years ago, Australia made a sale and only later announced it, thus delaying the traders' reaction until the metal had actually been sold," said the Rice Rinaldi analyst.
Year-on-year gold production in South Africa has been falling since 1996 and about 170,000 miners are estimated to be working in unprofitable pits.
There is concern about the referendum in Switzerland last month whose outcome points to a forthcoming end to the country's long-held peg to gold.
Furthermore, South Africa is ambivalent over International Monetary Fund discussions to sell gold so as to finance debt relief for the third world.
Thirty-one of the world's 41 poorest nations are African and the South African government has chosen to support the principle of debt relief.
But as the world's largest gold producer - and amid claims that debt relief will not ease grassroots poverty - South Africa's heart is not in it.
- 1 Finland schools: Subjects scrapped and replaced with 'topics' as country reforms its education system
- 2 The West has it totally wrong on Lee Kuan Yew
- 3 Watch: Man takes selfie every mile of 2,600 mile hike, creates amazing timelapse video
- 4 The day I starred in Only Fools and Horses
- 5 Scientists have discovered a simple way to cook rice that dramatically cuts the calories
Germanwings plane crash: Co-pilot Andreas Lubitz 'sought treatment for eyesight problems'
Saudi Arabia says it won't rule out building nuclear weapons
The battle for the Middle East's future begins in Yemen as Saudi Arabia jumps into the abyss
#FreeTheNipple: Women in Iceland bare breasts in solidarity with trolled student
Yemen crisis: Saudi Arabia ready for long campaign against Houthi rebels across the border
Ukip supporters are 55 or older, white and socially conservative, finds British Social Attitudes Report
JK Rowling responds to fan tweeting she 'can't see' Dumbledore being gay
Jeremy Clarkson sacked live: Alan Yentob 'wouldn't rule out' ex Top Gear host's BBC return
Revealed: Putin's army of pro-Kremlin bloggers
Germanwings plane crash: Co-pilot Andreas Lubitz wanted to 'do something people would remember him for'
The West has it totally wrong on Lee Kuan Yew
iJobs Money & Business
Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: To provide a prompt, friendly and efficient se...
Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: You will be the first point of contact for all...
£18000 - £24000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: HR, Payroll & Benefits Of...
£35000 - £38000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: A highly successful, int...