About Me


I am a retired mining engineer. I have been involved in the mining industry for 34 years. The first twenty-five years, was with mining companies, in operations management and project management. I subsequently moved to a mining equipment manufacturer in a marketing role. I spent the last two years, prior to my retirement due to ill-health, as CEO of Weir Minerals Africa.

 

I have a passion for change and was closely involved with the mechanisation of chrome and platinum mines, in South Africa in the aeas of operation design, change management , equipment design and management.

 

As MD of Weir Minerals Africa, I was closely involved with the ramping-up of factory capacity and rapid growth of the company prior to the integration of the Weir and Warman Africa businesses

 

I still take a keen interest in issues pertaining to the mining industry. My thoughts on issues pertaining to the South African mining industry are expressed. My aim is to view the industry ,and it’s warts, from the commentators booth (there are enough commentators and analysts taking a the “all” in the “warts and all” view). The views expressed are my own; they are always brutally honest, sometimes humorous but certainly not politically correct.

 

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22 Responses to About Me

  1. Gerrit van Rensburg says:

    Hello George,

    Really enjoy your writing. Sad thing is that is all too true!
    I have personally observed the conditions at DME offices when I had to go an make a presentation at the DME to get a Sect 54 lifted. It did not went down well when I pointed out the highly hazardous electrical connections to them!

    Regards
    Gerrit van Rensburg

  2. Allan Mulligan says:

    Hi George,

    It is refreshing to hear your lone voice out there. How are you keeping man? Keep at it and try be objective. I am sure lots of people are watching your inputs with interest.

    Best Regards,

    Allan Mulligan
    Perth Australia

    • gannandale says:

      Hi Allan
      Good to hear from you. I will add you to my mailing list. Pass the web address on to other Sefricans down there.

  3. Gawie says:

    I still say it is one of the best articles I have read in a long time. Well done! To the point. Who cares about politically correct if it is the truth.

  4. Roelof says:

    George

    Never heard the truth in such a way. You surely have the abillity to keep people reading and believing. Everyone that complain must refer to the phrase that states: “the truth hurts”.

  5. Martin Davies says:

    George…
    Hello.. Martin Davies here I have just begun to read your blog and am captivated by your knowledge and candor on mining in Southern Africa. I should say I am not in any way involved in mining but am very interested having been brought up as mine brat on mines in several African countries, pre and post independence. My father was Walter Davies and like you an old Africa hand.! an extraction metallurgist of note working first on the copperbelt (copper, zinc, nickel and cobalt) in the early 60’s although we were booted off the copperbelt for being white and highly skilled – Africanization of copper mines. Then SWA (more copper), Kenya (copper, nickel and gold), SA and Namibia (uranium). He led the design team that built the uranium extraction process at the low grade Rossing mine in South West. taking annual production from around 500 tons in 1975 to 3,800 tons in 1978. The uranium from this plant used by SA, UK, USA, Germany, Japan and Israel to run electrical power plants and arm the NATO nuclear weapons – go dad.. 3 mile island shut down neclur power buiding in USA for a generation. anyway just thought I would introduce myself and my father – now deceased. He loved Africa and everything that involved living and mining there.. as I have no doubt you do…
    PS the fruits of Zambian nationalization and Africanization of the mines is revealing… copper production peaked in ‘69 at 720,000 tons world’s 4th largest producer. By 2003 (39 years after independence) 368,963 tons (50% decline) are produced (11th place) surely testament to your astute observation about not taking risks and using the best skills and acumen available

  6. alann says:

    George,
    Thank you for excellent articles,amazing how once rationality and logic go out the window so we begin our slide without the powers that be even having the slightest idea of the subtleties.
    Regards Alann

  7. bert says:

    Hi George,

    I also am a mining engineer not yet retired. I love your articles. Wll you please express a view on the politically corrupt principles that drives the decision making process at the DME especially with regard to the granting of prospecting and mining licenses. I would also like to hear from other readers of your blog about their experiences in this regard. I think it is time for a major exposure of what is happening.

    • gannandale says:

      Hi Bert,
      Will work on it. That like the sheer intimidation of management by the DME staff, in what I believe is a deliberate attempt at harrasment, is foremost in my mind.

  8. Steve says:

    Hello George

    please give me your view on this article,

    http://finance.yahoo.com/expert/article/richricher/124339

    pretty much sums up the realities…

    chat soon

    Steven

    p.s. you’re welcome to mail me on my email address

    • gannandale says:

      An excellent article. I agree with him in that I do not get into debates on conspiracy theories. What is true though is that often moneyed powers get together and drive events in a direction that suit them and where they believe they won’t loose. These people who often inherited their wealth are seldom the “Wise sages” they want us to belief. Some of their “cock-ups” are driven by self-interest and naivety, knowing they can buy a place in the sun if the shit hits the fan. An excellent example is the perillous state Anglo finds itself in thanks to people like Godsell who is already scheming with the likes of Vavi, handing out favours with no obvious returns for the honest businessman.

      In SA history, the power hand-over from the old regime to the new regime was engineered by the Hochenheimers and the like woith the subsequent CODESA negotiations, to a large extent, manipulated by the same people. We now know, looking at the deteriorating situation here, and the Zimbabwean situation, that we did not arrive at an optimum sollution.

  9. Paul says:

    I found the link to your site while getting my daily dose of news on fin24.com. Can I ask if you can add me to your mailing list as well?

    Oh, I am a SA born ferrochrome junkie advising the Chinese on their ferrochrome production.

  10. Chris Mabuya-Gexe says:

    hello George,

    your articles makes for interesting read naive as they may be.

    you do sound sound like a bitter and old colonial miner who is struggling with the changes in most of post-colonial Africa. why don’t you go where your great skills can best be put to [better] use and stop bitching!

    the world is bigger and better than SA or Africa; go out there, compete if you still have the energy and stop crying for spilt milk.

    white Africans with great skills like you have long left Africa and made themselves useful elsewhere in God’s [great] world. what are you still waiting for? leave the natives to their own devices/vices and smell the roses for Pete’s sake.

    regards,
    Chris Mabuya-Gexe, a native.

    • gannandale says:

      As it happens, I’m retired and have nothing to loose because of this destruction of our resources. As for running of elsewhere to work, why on earth would I do that. By staying right here I earn the right to criticise stupidity, like the current comedy playing out between our own pretenders to the Mugabe Mantle of “King of Clowns”, Shabangu and Malema.

  11. Chris Mabuya-Gexe… I have read your e-mail twice… try as I might I can find no value in what you are saying. Why have you bothered submit your race rage thoughts here? You will notice our blog host has the class and courage to post your race rant. On the off chance that you are serious about the future and practices of mining in southern Africa you will see that the quality and subject matter expertise expressed here world-class.
    Africans come in all colours… just so happens that white African miners bring modern advanced skills that enable modern countries happen. Political correctness’ and race revenge are indulgent extravagances that SA cannot afford… get a grip man

    Martin Davies St Louis MO

    • Chris Mabuya-Gexe says:

      @ Martin Davies.

      George’s answer to my posting was more humbling than what you provided here. it looks like George read more than race anger in my posting hence the quality of his reply.

      i am a grandson of a native miner and never heard him say anything great about the mining experience in ‘The Reef’. he [grand-daddy] told me many stories of abuse and slavery treatment in the mines. i see nothing ‘modern and advanced’ in my dad’s stories.

      the rest of my posting was merely about leaving the kitchen when one cannot stand the heat therein. mining skills are fairly portable for any miner to be caught up in third world politics of [race] revenge if one can work comfortably elsewhere.

      i left SA when i couldn’t stand apartheid oppresion. i am good at what i do and i was not going to let SA’s apartheid policies get in my way. this is the same counsel i am giving our great friend George.

      • Geanann says:

        I find it ironic that people, deprived of jobs by trade unions and unrealistic expectations, are prepared to work as zama-zama’s (illegal mining)in the worst possible conditions, dying like flies. The slavery your grand-dad told you about was nothing compared to what is going on in these illegal mining operations.

        As for the stories your grand-father told you; comming from a mining lineage, I have heard some horror stories and I can, to create excitement, tell stories to make the kid s sit upright and listen wide-eyed; that is what grandfathers do.

        Great grand mother can told horror stories about concentration camps and my grea-great-great grandfather would tell terrible stories about the suffering of the Scots at the hand of the English. He himself in the meantime, were told stories of his great grandfather being enslaved by the damn Scandinavians (Vikings)

      • Humbling tales of mining…
        Although my father was part of the technical ex pat mining management elite class on the mines in Africa our mining heritage is much humbler with Gfather and GGfathers and on back being coal and lead miners in the Flint hills of North Wales.
        Work was often on a daily casual basis. Gfather would walk 15 miles and present himself for work at the mines.
        “who will work for 10 pence..” shouts the hiring gaffer.. hands go up… “right follow me… the rest of you can go home..” once around the corner “who will work for 9 and a halfpence..” fewer hands go up… etc until he had the numbers he needed. This would happen every day!
        Other times my GGfather form small freelance mining gangs hand digging shallow pits seeking lead ore galena the form in which it is usually found there. Once staying in a shaft they had dug for 3 days protecting their ore from others who might have happened upon it.
        This mines were extensive, ancient and very dangerous places roof collapses and to flooding. They have since become unworkable due to flooding.
        On my mother’s side are the wretched tales of the life of slate quarrying in the Bethesda and Dinorwig in the Snowdonian mountains
        So yes I am aware of the pain, humiliation and pride that is the lot of mining families no matter their colour or race

  12. Johlene says:

    I am a network manager for EGN South Africa, we are currently putting together a networking group for Junior Miners. Would you please add me to your mailing list as your comments are highly insightful.

    Thank you

  13. Tony Greyvenstein says:

    Informative;as usual.

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