Continental and Regional Mining Sector Analysis and Zimbabwe's Positioning

    Mining and investment:
    Mining activity (which constitutes 14 percent of Liberia’s economy and approximately 17 percent of Sierra Leone’s) is decreasing in Liberia and Sierra Leone following restrictions on non-essential travel and repatriation of personnel. Voice of America reports that investor confidence has dropped since the escalation of Ebola cases. China Union Arcelor Mittal are scaling down iron ore mining operations in Liberia. Some miners in Sierra Leone and Liberia are afraid to enter high risk districts, and several firms (including Australian mining firm Tawana Resources and Canadian Oversea Petroleum) have suspended operations or sent foreign workers home. Investments may be postponed and even cancelled if the perceived risks are too great. Guinea, for now, is not experiencing a major impact on its mining sector since its main mines are not located in the areas where there is high risk if infection.

    South Africa
    South Africa has also been marred with labour unrests. The 2013 strikes also triggered some of the worst instaces of vilonce seen the country since the days of apartheid when South African police opened fire on pretesting workers at Marikana. Unfortunately for South Africa, however, the ending of the platinum strike does not look to be ending the country’s labour unrest as now another industrial action-this time by country’s engineering and metalworkers looked set to start.

    Last year a four week strike by more than 30, 000 members of the same union at major auto makers cost the industry $2 billion. Now it looks like industrial auction will be much more widespread and include a far greater portion of the powerful union’s 220,000 members.

    Among the companies likely to be targeted are Bell equipment and the Dorbly Industrial group, but the big fear is that labour unrest could spread once again to auto sector as it did in 2013.