These days there are a number of people that are concerned about how fast the environment is deteriorating. This is because of the number of devices that are in use…
The mechanisation of South African mines, particularly in the gold and platinum sectors, is not so much a question of ‘if’, but ‘when’. Previously, opinion seemed radically divided, with proponents championing increased productivity and detractors warning against unprecedented labour unrest. However, the five-month wage strike in the platinum belt tipped the scales in favour of mechanising.
But this will not be easy (Read this article for more on why the path to mechanisation is not an easy one). The challenge for South Africa, is to make the transition without a repeat of uprisings that almost crippled the economy and the best way to do that seems to be for labour to be consulted.
Speaking at the Joburg Indaba last week, Anglo American Platinum (Amplats) chairperson, Valli Moosa said the mining industry had to change drastically, or else.
“Workers would not have gone on a five-month strike, without pay, unless they wanted to send us a very strong message. The only conclusion we can come to is that the system does not work…and that our staff, workers, and society in general, want to see a fundamental change within the mining industry,” he said, adding that anything short of that would be “not be correct”.
Valli’s solution is not to view mechanisation as a silver bullet that will resolve all mining problems, but rather as an important phase of the overall modernisation of the industry. It will not only improve productivity within the sector, but also lead to a move away from “back-breaking low-wage, low-skill jobs” currently ubiquitous in mining.
Another phase of that process, should be to include workers in the decision-making process as shareholders of the company, who would therefore have to merge their own interests with those of the company and would have to understand that profitability is dependent on mechanising.
Dr Declan Vogt, the director of the Centre for Mechanised Mining Systems (CMMS) at Wits, says mechanisation, in the long run, will lead to a change in the nature of jobs as opposed to the loss of jobs. As industries evolve, it is the skills that are required that change, but not the number of people required to have them.
“The coal industry mechanised in the 80s and … is bigger and employs more people now than it did prior to mechanisation, because the industry was able to grow,” he said.
“It is the unions, the miners and government that will have to come together to grow the skills base and ensure the continued employment of mine labourers.… Skills are going to be key to this whole (mechanisation) thing, right from operations to mine management. I think we definitely have a shortage of skills right now, but if there a plenty of organisations (like the CMMS) that can provide the training, it’s not a game stopper.”
Even unions are open to the notion of mechanisation, albeit cautiously. Frans Baleni, the General Secretary of the National Union of Mineworkers, says the union supports mechanisation if it is a decision that arises from a consensus between management and labour.
“Because then you can agree on issues of training (workers to use machinery); up-skilling in terms of maintenance and servicing of the equipment; and also the local manufacturing of that equipment because then you create a stream of jobs and employment opportunities,” he said.
But when its sole purpose is to replace labour, Baleni says, the union is strongly opposed to mechanisation, citing a tendency for companies to impose it as a ‘fight-back mechanism’ after strike actions.
Well well, it’s amazing what you find when you go digging. This week produced no significant announcements by South African companies of M&A activity; so I went digging.
The press release by Aberdeen International looked interesting. Aberdeen, a Canadian listed global investment and merchant banking company, focused on small cap companies in the resource sector, announced its investment in African Thunder Platinum which, in July, acquired the South African platinum assets of troubled Platinum Australia; a 69.75% stake in Smokey Hills mine and a 49% interest in the Kalahari Platinum project joint venture. I did wonder what made this an attractive proposition for Aberdeen shareholders given Smokey Hills’ non-existent production track record.
The Smokey Hills project is located on the eastern limb of the Bushveld Igneous Complex in the Limpopo province, roughly 300km north of Johannesburg. Platinum Australia bought into the project in 2007 with the aim of owning an 80% stake, the balance being held by Corridor Mining Resources (15%), a company owned by the Limpopo provincial government and 5% by the local community.
Operations commenced a year later, initially as an open cut with the intention to progress to a shallow underground mine. The life of the mine was put at seven years. Operations in 2009 focused on the development of six main access adits and the improvement in the platinum price made for projected healthy margins. Then 2010 dawned and things went south for the project; power interruptions, the cancellation of the underground mining contract, numerous industrial actions, a deteriorating market, increased debt and the issuing of a notice by the Department of Mineral Resources ordering the group to cease operations for allegedly failing to comply with social and labour plans.
The company was placed under administration in December 2012 but not before it funded the buy-out of Corridor Mining Resources. Jubilee Platinum looked to be the White Knight in late 2012 but discussions of a merger were terminated by mutual agreement in March this year.
Now this is where it really gets interesting. In July, Great Lakes Capital Management, a Canadian private equity firm, through a subsidiary African Thunder Platinum announced it had acquired the South African assets from the Deed Administrator. The consideration to be paid consisted of $1.05 million in cash and the issue of shares equivalent to a 15.5% in African Thunder with the shares distributed to secured creditor Macquarie Bank (13.5%) and unsecured creditors (2%).
Three months later Aberdeen, with a market cap of $17 million, appears on the scene making an initial investment of $4.67 million into African Thunder and committing up to $15 million of which a maximum of $7.5 million would be invested before year-end. To fund the acquisition Aberdeen sold 2.85 million shares in Rio Alto Mining and has completed a non-brokered private placement of 10 million shares at $0.20 per unit with each unit consisting of one common share and a full warrant entitling the holder to acquire a share at a price of $0.30 for a period of five years. This translates into $2 million now and a capital raise of $5 million over the next five years. On this capital raising exercise the company’s CEO and President David Stein made the following comment “…provides Aberdeen with the ability to take advantage of depressed market conditions… to focus on more advanced, less risky projects in mining friendly jurisdictions…”
While all this seems straightforward enough, on Tuesday Meson Capital Partners, whose fund and affiliates own approximately a 9% stake in Aberdeen, objected in a letter sent to Aberdeen and the Toronto Stock Exchange challenging the “pending dilutive private placement”. In his letter Meson Capital President Ryan Morris noted that the units low price of $0.20 is roughly half the $0.398 net asset value per share Aberdeen determined it to be in July.
Using the Black-Scholes methodology, Morris valued the warrants at $0.09 reflecting a 55% discount at which the shares were being offered. In addition he claims Meson Capital had proposed, the day after the private placement was announced, to buy the units at $0.20 with each unit consisting of a share and half a warrant.
And the clanger is the fact that there was not adequate disclosure as to who was behind African Thunder, which Meson notes appears to be a related party to the company, a fact not disclosed when the transaction was announced. A google search shows that five of the seven Aberdeen directors are also directors of African Thunder.
So it would appear that Platinum Australia and Smokey Hills are not yet out of the woods. Since Aberdeen is essentially the funder of the Great Lakes acquisition this may not get the go-ahead required. Clearly it is not only South African minority shareholders who are standing up and embracing their rights.
Grape growing has a very long history in Bulgaria, Bulgarians being most famous for their wine – making, especially in the 1980s when the country was the world’s second largest wine exporter. Another well-known Bulgarian particularity is the beauty of its women, the striking physical appearance of eastern – european women being wildly known and appreciated.
Most foreigners see Bulgarians as some very traditional people who value the conventional, old fashioned family structure. The tightness of family bonds reflects in the fact that it is very common for relatives, oftentimes of different generations, to share a household. The Bulgarians are also thought of as living in houses with large gardens where they grow their own fruits and vegetables, as well as raise animals such as hens, geese, pigs or cows. About themselves, the locals say they are fun – loving, kind – hearted and hospitable people with a great sense of humor.
Bulgarian social etiquette is not very rigorous but highly regards the respect shown to elders, who are addressing as Mr. or Mrs. followed by their surname. Also, when visiting someone it is considered common courtesy to bring a small gift or flowers, but not chrysanthemums, lilies or gladiolas which are usually bought at funerals.
Apart from wine – drinking, Bulgarians often enjoy Ayryan, a non-alcoholic mixture of yogurt and water, which is usually consumed with salt. The yoghurt produced here is unique in the world due to the bacteria used in creating it, Lactobacillus bulgaricus bacteria only existing in this country’s atmosphere. One of the most interesting characteristics of Bulgarians is their peculiar, reverse use of gesturing “yes” and “no”, the locals shake their head when they mean “yes” and nod when they mean “no” which can be very confusing for foreigners.
One of the places one must visit in Bulgaria is Rila Monastery, an edifice built in the 10th century near Rila Mountains, 1147 meters above sea level, part of UNESCO’s World Heritage Sites. Its official name being “The Monastery of Saint Ivan of Rila”, it is the largest eastern – orthodox monastery in the country. Another popular tourist attraction in Bulgaria is Kovachevitsa village, a town known for its pittoresque aspect, founded in the 17th century. Kovachevitsa has been declared an “Architectural and Historical Reserve of National Importance” and it presently has only 30 constant residents, most of the houses being used as summer getaways.
Many Americans dream of visiting the distant state of Hawaii. In their mind’s eye, they can see themselves winging their way across the Pacific and stepping out into a tropical paradise. A Hawiian vacation has the feel of international travel, but without the need to acquire a passport, learn a foreign language or exchange your money. But that’s only part of the appeal. Most of the desire to visit Hawaii stems from its diverse nature—from the mountainous peaks to miles of golden beaches, there is something for everyone. And if you happen to be flying solo, there’s no reason you can’t enjoy all the Aloha State has to offer. With only one person’s expenses to cover, you may be able to return that much sooner. If you are visiting Hawaii by yourself, follow the guide below to find the most economical deals for singles.
Plan your trip well in advance. By booking at least six months ahead, you get the best selection of available accommodations, and you may get an early bird discount. Also, try to plan your trip outside peak travel periods. The largest price reductions are offered on both flights and hotels for those visiting Hawaii in August through November, or in the early spring months of April and May.
Use hostels rather than standard hotels—they charge by the person, not by the room. This means the solo traveler is not charged the dreaded “single supplement” that hotels regularly add to the bill. Hotels justify this extra fee by claiming it helps them to recover the income they would have generated with a second lodger.
Go camping. There are public and private campsites all across the islands that offer a range of settings, from sandy beaches to the volcano ledges. Campsites charge per tent, not per person. Like all things Hawaii, rates are higher in the winter and during holidays, but even at peak season, campsites offer showers with hot water, flush toilets, well-maintained hiking trails and breathtaking scenery for a fraction of the cost of staying in a hotel. A modern dome-style tent and light sleeping bag can easily be transported within your regular luggage.
Consider joining a tour group made up of other single travelers. Search the Internet for like-minded individuals or companies that specialize in making these types of arrangements. Group rates often extend beyond travel and accommodations to include discounts on area attractions and local transportation. On the downside, you may be assigned a roommate whom you may or may not like.
Visit sites off the beaten path or spend your time on the beach or hiking the hills. Alternatively, ask some of the folks who work at the hotel what they recommend or how they spend their free time and you may discover some true hidden gems. You’ll get tan, have fun, avoid the crowds and still save money.
Eat at the local delis, sandwich shops or farmer’s market, not at the hotel, unless it is included in the price of your room.
Make lunch your main meal. Hawaiians are masters of the plate lunch—an overflowing tray of hearty, stick-to-your-ribs food, snapped up by the locals every day between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. Offerings range from ribs to beef curry to teriyaki chicken. The main dish is accompanied by two giant scoops of rice, macaroni salad and cooked vegetables. These gastronomic bargain plates are sold by mobile catering vans for less than the price of a burger at McDonald’s, and they’re a lot more filling.
Going to a ski resort is a wonderful and exciting way to spend a winter vacation. Ski resorts are recreational centers that usually are located over a big hill or on a mountain. Ski resorts consist of ski trails and other areas that are suitable for skiing and other winter recreational activities, such as snowboarding, sledding and snowmobiling. If you are planning on taking a skiing vacation, there are fine ski resorts to choose from all over the world.
Whistler Blackcomb is a ski resort located in the province of British Columbia, in Canada. Its vast, looming mountains make the ski resort one of the finest in North America, and it provides one of the highest vertical drops. There are more than 8,000 acres of skiing terrain at Whistler Blackcomb. The village of Whistler is charming and rustic, and it has many small boutiques, cafes and diverse restaurants. There are adult skiing and snowboarding lessons available, as well as lessons for teenagers and children.
4545 Blackcomb Way
Whistler, BC, Canada V0N 1B4
Tel: (800) 766-0449
Stowe Mountain Resort
The Stowe Mountain Resort in Vermont is one of the most breathtaking and respected ski resorts in the United States. It is home to the largest vertical drop in New England and consists of two separate ski areas, which are Spruce Peak and Mount Mansfield. It has a lift link that will connect you back to a different resort to make the experience more convenient. The resort has more than 90 stores and 60 dining options.
Stowe Mountain Resort
5781 Mountain Road
Stowe, VT 05672
Tel: (800) 253-4754
Vail Resort in Colorado is one of the most famous ski resorts on the planet. It is the biggest single ski resort in the United States and provides approximately 5,300 acres of ski terrain. One of the mountains even has the speediest detachable quads. There are other exciting things to see and do while at the Vail Resort, including ice skating, dog sledding, hockey, snowmobiling and ballooning.
PO Box 7
Vail, CO 81658
Tel: (970) 476-5601
Chamonix-Mont-Blanc, located in France, is one of the most popular and bustling ski resorts in Europe. It was the site of the first Winter Olympics in 1924. This resort is by the foot of the legendary Mont Blanc and is home to the tallest peak of the Alps. It is also the second-tallest peak on the European continent, at an astounding 15,000+ feet. One of the longest runs on the planet, Vallee Blanche (almost 14 miles) is here as well.
Chamonix-Mont-Blanc (Tourism Office)
85, Place du Triangle de l’Amitie BP 25
F-74400 Chamonix Mont-Blanc
Tel: 011 (+33) 450 53 0024
Cortina d’Ampezzo is a ski resort in northeastern Italy. It was the location of the Olympic Games in 1956. This ski resort is sleek, attractive and highly stylish. In the beautiful Ampezzo Valley, Cortina d’Ampezzo is near the Austrian border. There are 762 miles of trails in the Dolomite Superski Region, to which Cortina d’Ambezzo belongs. The resort itself has 51 ski lifts and 87 miles of skiing trails. There are also more than 70 miles of trails devoted to cross-country skiers.
Cortina d’Ampezzo – Tourism Board
Piazzetta S. Francesco 8, 32043
Cortina d’Ampezzo, Italy
Tel: 011 (+39) 436-3231
These days there are a number of people that are concerned about how fast the environment is deteriorating. This is because of the number of devices that are in use and also the number of vehicles that are on the road. While the need for vehicles is definitely there, you need to make sure that you do your bit and do not add to those vehicles. One such way of doing this is contacting the best prom car hire southam service in town and not driving around in your own vehicle. This comes with a number of advantages. Here are some of the advantages of hiring a car from a car rental service.
This goes without saying that you save on a lot of money when you hire a car from a car rental service. One of the biggest expenses of driving your own car is maintaining the car and daily fuel expenses. These expenses can be avoided when you rent a car to travel around. A lot of people underestimate how much money a car rental service can save you. With your own car you will have to pay for maintenance on a monthly basis irrespective of how much you use the vehicle. Fuel expenses are also on the rise and this is something that you will have to pay out of your pocket probably on a daily basis. With a car rental service these expenses do not pinch you a lot. Although the car rental service will accommodate for these expenses it does not amount to a lot because these expenses are divided among all the customers.
Save The Environment
This is one of the biggest advantages of hiring a car from a car rental service. You will be able to give back to the environment by not adding to the number of vehicles that are already on the road. If you also want to make sure that you are truly giving back to the environment then you can always hire a hybrid car or even an electric car. These cars do not give out as much pollutants as the normal vehicles and you will feel good travelling in them. These days there are a number of car manufacturers that are making some of the best hybrid and electric cars. Renting such a car will not only save you money it will also save the environment.
Sharing A Car
If you are traveling to work alone on a daily basis it will get very boring and frustrating. With the help of a car rental service you can share a ride with your colleagues every day. This way you can save on a lot of money and you can even have a pleasant conversation while getting to work. This not only helps you to stay in the right frame of mind it will also take away the boredom of travelling on a daily basis.
Travelling Long Distance
If you are going out of town for the weekend and you have decided to drive on your own, there are a number of problems that you could face. One of the problems is spending on the maintenance of the car before you take the long drive. This includes a number of things that need to be checked in the car before you drive away. This includes alignment of the tires, the condition of the oil as well as the brake condition.
Not only will this cost you a lot of money it will also waste a lot of time. With the help of a car rental service you will be able to just pack your bags and get out of town without having to spend any additional money. Not only will this help you have a good holiday you will not even have to worry about how your car is going to perform on the way back home. You just hop into the rental car and get to your destination and get back in the right frame of mind. Holidays are meant to change your mood and keep you in the right spirit. The right car rental service will ensure that you have a very pleasant holiday.
Comfort And Convenience
One of the biggest problems with driving around on your own is convenience. When you are driving your own car you will not be able to enjoy with your family members while the trip is on. This is because you need to focus on the road and not joke around or fool around with your family members. When you hire a car, you will have a driver that comes along with it. This means that the driver has the responsibility of taking you and your family safety while you will be able to enjoy along with your family along the way. You will even be able to enjoy the scenic route and have fun on your drive.
You also need to make sure that you hire a car that is in good condition. This way you will be able to travel in comfort and there will be no health issues when you get your destination or when you get back home. While you may be tempted to just take out your car and head out for a drive you should always think about the consequences that this action may have. Always think about the future and your own convenience before you take your own vehicle.
New York is a dynamic city that seemingly never sleeps. Sundays are no exception. Visitors will be pleased to discover Sundays in the city offer a wide range of activities from the very relaxed to the most invigorating. Whether your preference is for indoor activities of outdoor events, New York City offers something for everyone’s taste.
Sunday Brunch Cruise
World Yacht presents a two-hour Sunday brunch (from April to December) complete with scrumptious food, stunning views of the city and live music. For an additional cost, customers can receive caviar and champagne service. The required dress code for the cruise is casual attire; sneakers, jeans, and shorts are not allowed. The cruise begins by traveling down the Hudson River. It includes views of the East River, the Brooklyn Bridge, the United Nations and the Statue of Liberty, returning to Pier 81.
New York Sunday Brunch Cruise
West 43rd Street and 12th Avenue
New York, NY 10036
Harlem Meer Performance Festival
Visitors to New York City can enjoy fun, music-filled Sundays in the city. The Central Park Conservancy presents free Sunday concerts featuring diverse established and up and coming artists in performing music in genres such as Gospel, Jazz, World and Latin. The concert series runs from June 21st through September 6th, from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m.
Charles A. Dana Discovery Center
110th Street and Fifth Avenue
The Frick Collection is a small museum located in the vicinity of Central Park. The facility houses precious works of art by some of the greatest European artists. Visitors can expect to see sculptures, Oriental rugs, French furnishings, paintings, porcelains, bronzes and much more. The Frick allows visitors to pay what they want on Sundays, between the hours of 11 a.m. and 1 p.m.
The Frick Collection offers audio tours included in the admission price. Children under 10 years old are not admitted into the museum galleries, to help maintain the reserve of Mr. Frick’s private home. Patrons and visitors are invited to sketch in the galleries with charcoal or lead pencils only on paper no larger than 12-by-18 inches. The Frick Collection Museum Shop is open on Sundays from 11 a.m. until 4:45 p.m.
1 East 70th Street
New York, NY 10021
We all need a vacation. If you have some money set aside and vacation time scheduled off, you are ready to plan a vacation. There are several key things to do when planning a vacation, such as deciding where to go and booking transportation, accommodations and activities.
Decide who will be vacationing with you. Are you going with a significant other? Or are you taking your whole family? Once you know who is going, sit down and talk about what everyone is looking for in a vacation. Think about things like relaxing on a beach, hiking through the wilderness, shopping or sightseeing.
Establish how you want to travel. VacationIdea.com says it is important to decide if you want to travel by car, bus, train or airplane. A lot of that depends on how far you want to travel. That is good to decide at this time too.
Select three vacation destinations to choose from. Make sure these three choices satisfy most of your vacation goals. Narrow down your selection to one destination that everyone can agree on and that meets the majority of your vacation goals.
Book your transportation. Real Simple says that at this point, you should book your flight or plot your driving route. Make sure you search different websites for the best flight deals. If you are driving your car, be sure to get it serviced.
Reserve your lodging accommodations and activities. That’s right, book spa appointments, golf tee times or sightseeing tour reservations.
Set a spending budget. If you plan to eat out for every meal, research places to eat. If you plan to cook for yourself, set a food budget. Be sure to set aside some extra spending money for additional adventures that may arise.
Create a shopping list of items you will need before you leave. Include things like sunscreen, travel toothpaste, beach towels and other things you may need. It is usually cheaper to purchase these things before you go.
Unbroken views of Lake Tahoe are one of the most impressive features that the Homewood Mountain resort has to offer. Guests can enjoy the food, wine and the excellent service. Furthermore, parents can allow their children to wander around the children’s areas of the resort to enjoy the playgrounds. There are ski classes for all ages, and the instructors do an excellent job of making even the newest skiers feel right at home. New skiers will have no trouble understanding the instructors’ lessons, and instructors take a hands-on approach to their classes. For that reason, as much as any other, the Homewood Mountain Resort is among the favorite destinations of those visitors to Lake Tahoe who don’t have time for crowds, and are primarily there for the pristine slopes.
Visitors to Lake Tahoe who enjoy more challenging ski slopes will enjoy staying at the Homewood Mountain Resort. Homewood keeps its slopes in pristine condition, and guests will be able to walk right onto the slopes. The resort doesn’t have the same problems with overcrowding that other properties in the area seem to have, so guests can take their time at breakfast and lunch, so they don’t have to worry about being last on the slopes. The new ski lifts and chairs that are available for guests will allow them to enjoy the slopes without the discomfort of having to stand in line for an hour waiting on an empty chair. They can take their time, and enjoy the world-class food that the Homewood offers, since they won’t have to struggle to find a spot on the slopes.
Pros and Cons
The Homewood Mountain Resort avoids the over the top atmosphere of many of the Tahoe area resorts. While this certainly translates to shorter lines at check-in and on the slopes, as well, the fact remains that for the ultra-luxurious experience that many travelers want, they will need to find a different resort. Homewood Mountain Resort boasts some of the most spectacular views of Lake Tahoe that can be found in the area, and the atmosphere is one of quiet serenity. Without the crowds and the noise that many of the area’s resorts have in abundance, Homewood provides an experience that is more conducive to enjoying a family getaway where the focus is on each other.
Homewood Mountain Resort offis further afield than the other Lake Tahoe resorts. Off the beaten path, Homewood provides an experience that differs greatly than the larger, more heavily populated resorts in the vicinity. If it’s a beautiful atmosphere with excellent skiing and very short waits to get on the slopes, then Homewood is the place to stay. Since Homewood is significantly less well-known than the more well-heeled resorts in the area, it is also less crowded and significantly more affordable. The skiing at Homewood is second to none, and the family atmosphere means that all members of the family will enjoy their stay. Homewood is family-friendly and doesn’t frown on rambunctious children, and the entire family is encouraged to find their own path to happiness.
The Boston Duck Tour is one of those cheesy, only-as-a-tourist attractions that kids love. You drive around the city on a W.W.II style amphibious landing vehicle, a DUCK, and you are expected to quack when your guide tells you to. You see Boston Common and Newbury Street, then you hit the water.
Wows and Woes
Not all ducks have outside seating and those that do have limited seating. Get there early if you want to sit outside, because there is no guarantee. Also, surprisingly, even infants require a (heavily discounted) ticket.
With your ticket, you get discounted admission to the fabulous Museum of Science, along with museum store discounts. And the shorter tour that leaves from the aquarium is less expensive.
Author’s Most Memorable Moment
Since we live in NYC, my kids don’t have much opportunity to drive anything. The “ConDUCKtor” usually allows some passengers to drive the boat a little on the Charles River. The ear-to-ear grins my kids sported made the ticket prices worthwhile.
Boston Duck Tours are a unique way to get an overview of Boston and see some of the sights.