first_img20 April 2009State-owned logistics group Transnet has secured a R915-million loan from Finland’s export credit agency, Finnvera, to buy equipment for the ports of Durban, Ngqura and Cape Town as part of the company’s five-year, R80-billion capital expenditure programme.The export credit agency facility, signed by Transnet acting CEO Chris Wells in Durban this week, comprises four separate loans with repayment periods of up to 10 years.“This is a historic moment for us, as it is the first ECA funding, and marks our foray into tapping international debt capital markets to part-fund our capex programme,” Wells said in a statement this week.Alternative fundingThe facility is a landmark transaction for Finnvera, incorporating fixed-rate rand funding for euro-based contracts, significant flexibility on the provision of foreign content cover and a framework to accommodate other contracts going forward.Wells said the flexibility provided by an alternative source of comparatively-priced financing in the prevailing complex market conditions represented an invaluable tool in implementing the company’s long-term growth strategy.“We are accessing a deep pool of alternative funding at a price which is comparable to the domestic bond market,” he said.Investor confidenceWells said that he saw the conclusion of the agreement as a further sign of confidence by investors in Transnet as a well-managed company and an attractive investment proposition. “This shows the bankability of our project portfolio,” he said.While Transnet was now tapping international debt capital markets, Wells made it clear that the bulk of the funding would continue to be sourced domestically.“We are well ahead of our plans in raising the required debt funding for the new financial year [starting 1 April]”, Wells said.The latest agreement follows last month’s announcement that Transnet and the Japan Bank for International Cooperation had signed an historic ¥35-billion (about R4-billion) untied loan agreement.The proceeds of that loan are being used to fund the widening and deepening of the entrance to the Durban harbour.SAinfo reporterWould you like to use this article in your publication or on your website? See: Using SAinfo materiallast_img read more

first_imgThe raw 7.03-carat blue diamond found atSouth Africa’s Cullinan Mine before it was cut and polished.(Image: Sotheby’s) A miner carrying the legendary Cullinan Diamond discovered in 1905.(Image: Bryson Burke)Khanyi Magubane A 7.03-carat blue diamond discovered at the legendary Cullinan Mine in South Africa has broken a world record after it sold for US$ 9.4 million (R81-million) at an auction in Geneva, Switzerland.The amount exceeded the pre-sale maximum estimate of $8.5-million (R73-million).Hosted by auction house Sotheby’s, the sale of the diamond – classified as a “fancy vivid blue” – has been recorded as the highest price offered for a gemstone at an auction.The new owner of the prized possession, Hong Kong collector Joseph Lau Leun-Hung, bid telephonically during the tightly contested sale, which lasted 15 minutes.Lau Leun-Hung has since exercised his right to name the diamond, now known as the Star of Josephine.Classified by the Gemological Institute of America as “internally flawless”, the cushion-shaped diamond was sold as part of Sotheby’s Magnificent Jewels Sale series, and comprised a number of classical pieces.Another popular piece was a pink pear-shaped 5.29-carat diamond, which sold for $2-million (R17.3-miilion), and a marquise brilliant-cut vivid yellow diamond, weighing in at 18-carats.According to the Times of India, the demand for big-sized stones is gaining momentum in Asian and western markets including Hong Kong, Japan, China and the US.“Auction houses like Sotheby’s and Christie’s are fuelling the consumer confidence around the world. While the world is reeling under recession, the sale of the blue diamond has revived the hope for the diamond industry,” said Bharat Gosai, a leading diamond expert, during an interview with Times of India.Also present at the sale was Johan Dippenaar, the chief executive officer of Petra Diamonds, the company that bought the Cullinan Mine from diamond miners De Beers last year. Speaking to Sotheby’s, Dippenaar said, “The renowned Cullinan Mine continues to captivate the world with spectacular diamonds, building on its legacy as the source of some of the world’s most famous gems.“This has been a very successful partnership with Sotheby’s … and has provided the perfect platform to garner international recognition for a gem of this caliber.”Sotheby’s international jewellery department chairperson for Europe and the Middle East David Bennett spoke highly of their partnership with Petra.“We are particularly thrilled with the price achieved for the exceptional fancy vivid blue diamond … its has been very exciting and rewarding to work so closely with Petra Diamonds and to follow the progress of this remarkable gem over the last few months and through to its auction success on the international stage.”In total, the Magnificent Jewels Collection sold 266 lots for a whopping $35.7-million (R309-million).Diamonds for AfricaThe Pretoria-based Cullinan Diamond Mine, with its long history of legendary blue diamond discoveries, dates back to the early 1900s.On June 25 1905, the world-famous Cullinan Diamond was discovered there by mine superintendent Frederick Wells. On a walk through the mine he picked up what he thought was a large piece of glass. When it turned out to be a 31.08-carat diamond, Wells was given a $10 000 (R86 000) reward for the discovery.Sir Thomas Cullinan, the mine’s owner, went on to sell the stone to the then Transvaal government, who in turn presented it to King Edward VII for his 66th birthday.The king sent the stone to be cut by master diamond cutters the Asscher brothers in Amsterdam. The final process of polishing the Cullinan Diamond was completed in 1908 and was subsequently cut into nine pieces.Some parts of the Cullinan Diamond can be found in English Crown Jewels as well as the personal gemstone collection of the Royal Family. To date, the Cullinan is still recorded as the largest uncut diamond ever found.Other famous finds from the mine include the 755-carat Golden Jubilee, the 600-carat Centenary, and the 530-carat Great Star of Africa.Since the 1905 find, more than 120-million carats have been mined at Cullinan. It is still in operation and producing about 25% of the world’s gem-quality diamonds.Public tours are conducted at the mine for those wanting to visit the historic site.Tourists interested in the underground operation of the mine are treated to an underground tour, where tour guides explain the process of diamond mining.Visitors are taught about the extraction of diamonds from the earth and the process of diamond cutting.Sharing an African visionPetra Diamonds, the company that owns the Cullinan Mine, has acquired a number of diamond mines across Africa, and has since been recognised as one of the biggest independent diamond mining groups in the world. It also owns the Koffiefontein, Helam, Sedibeng and Star mines in South Africa.In other parts of the continent, Petra Diamonds has acquired a 75% stake in the Williamson Mine in Tanzania.According to company reports, it has reached an agreement with De Beers to buy the Kimberly Underground mines.With the threat the illegal diamond trade poses to the industry, Petra Diamonds has committed itself to only working with companies that are a part of the Kimberly Process, which promotes the dealing in conflict-free diamonds.Do you have queries or comments about this article? Email Khanyi Magubane at [email protected] Related articlesGovt to review mining in SA Economic boomtime in Angola Turning the jobless into jewellers Kimberley goes for Gold Useful linksPetra DiamondsSotheby’s Williamsons Diamond MineDe Beerslast_img read more

first_imgWhy Tech Companies Need Simpler Terms of Servic… Top Reasons to Go With Managed WordPress Hosting Tags:#Data Services#web 8 Best WordPress Hosting Solutions on the Market Related Posts center_img marshall kirkpatrick Two years ago the incoming Obama administration launched a number of ambitious websites, most notably Data.gov, that were dedicated to offering public and government data to the outside world. The stated intention was to foster transparency and offer a platform for the development of new software and services. It appears those experiments may be over for now.Today the Sunlight Foundation and Federal News Radio reported that the public projects Data.gov, USASpending.gov, Apps.gov/now, IT Dashboard and paymentaccuracy.gov as well as a number of internal government sites including Performance.gov, FedSpace and many of the efforts related the FEDRamp cloud computing cybersecurity effort would be taken offline in coming weeks due to budget cuts by Congress. Perhaps things like electronic government, software platforms and public accountability were just fads, anyway.Update:. We’re hearing from several places that there’s a potentially viable effort to save these sites and organizations. Here is one perspective on that and you can also see the Sunlight Foundation’s Save the Data petition. See also Alex Howard’s in-depth reporting on this news published on Friday. A Web Developer’s New Best Friend is the AI Wai…last_img read more