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South African petrochemicals giant Sasol has sold a 20% stake in its mining subsidiary to Ixia Coal, a new mining firm that benefits women, as part of a black economic empowerment (BEE) deal worth about R1.8-billion. The later comprises approximately 5 000 rural and peri-urban black women who have not previously participated in BEE transactions. The women are drawn from the Free State, Mpumalanga and Limpopo provinces, where Sasol Mining has operations and coal reserves. Mining Women Investments was formed following a series of Wiphold workshops with women in the three provinces. Sasol Mining Holdings and WIPCoal Investments have also entered into a memorandum of understanding that outlines the plan to turn Ixia Coal into an operational company, and are currently in the process of identifying a suitable mining asset to be acquired by Ixia Coal. The transaction forms part of the company’s empowerment strategy and its commitment to comply with the objectives of South Africa’s Mineral and Petroleum Resources Development Act and the Mining Charter. Black woman owned and operated firm 11 October 2010 The transaction is structured in a manner that provides for dividend payments to the shareholders from day one, which means that the shareholders of WIPCoal Investments receive cash dividends from the first year of the investment. “The closing of the Ixia Coal transaction is a key milestone in achieving Sasol’s transformation objective,” Sasol Mining MD Hermann Wenhold said in a statement this week. “We set out to create one the country’s first black women owned and operated mining companies.” In terms of the transaction, Ixia Coal Funding, a subsidiary of Ixia Coal, has acquired a 20% shareholding in Sasol Mining. The transaction value is R1.845-billion and is financed through equity and a combination of third party and Sasol funding. The debt will be repaid from future dividends by Sasol Mining. Ixia Coal will be 51% owned by WIPCoal Investments, the shareholders of which include Wiphold (Women’s Investment Portfolio Holdings) and a new entrant created by Wiphold, called Mining Women Investments. “It is also an important step for Wiphold, as it has always been part of our strategy to be operationally involved in mining.” Sasol Mining Holdings has a 49% shareholding in Ixia Coal and has committed itself to establish Ixia Coal as a black women controlled operational mining company with operating capacity, operating assets and growth opportunities. Wiphold CEO Louisa Mojela said that apart from having woman just as shareholders in Ixia Coal, the company would actively seek opportunities for them to participate in employment, procurement and enterprise development opportunities that result from the new mining company’s operations. Mojela said the deal represented “a significant moment in the drive to truly transform mining in South Africa. Dividend payments ‘from day one’ SAinfo reporterWould you like to use this article in your publication or on your website? See: Using SAinfo material read more
Share Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest After hearing concerns expressed by those hunting in Ohio’s snowbelt, the Ohio Division of Wildlife (ODOW) surveyed hunters in the northeastern part of the state and conducted a two-year study to determine if turkeys were nesting later there than in other regions of the state.Biologists found that hens in snowbelt counties nested nearly two weeks later than hens in southeastern counties, which supported the creation of a two-zone spring turkey season. As a result, and to the agency’s credit, for this spring’s turkey hunting season — and likely beyond —the state has been divided into two zones: a south zone, which opens to hunters on Monday, April 24, and a northeast zone, which opens to hunters on Monday, May 1. Hunters can view the 2017 spring turkey season zone map at wildohio.gov. Hat’s off to the ODOW for listening to hunters’ concerns and acting on same. read more
I’m just back from Chicago, where I was attending the Greenbuild Conference of the U.S. Green Building Council. Despite the weak economy, some 27,000 architects, builders, developers, and manufacturers gathered for this 9th annual conference.At Greenbuild, I moderated an interactive session looking at “hype vs. reality” with LED lighting. Indeed, there is a lot of hype out there (more on that below), but the bottom line is that there are some amazing products coming onto the market.By way of background, LED lighting (LED for “light-emitting diode”) is the future of electric lighting. These highly concentrated light sources rely on semiconductor materials to convert electric current directly into light, without heating up a metal filament, as occurs with incandescent lights, or passing an electric arc through mercury gas, as happens with fluorescent, metal halide, and high-pressure sodium lights.LED lighting has three primary advantages over other lighting sources:First, it’s much more efficient than incandescent lighting. We refer to lighting efficiency as “efficacy” and measure it in lumens of light output per watt of electricity consumed. Incandescent light bulbs have efficacies of 10-15 lumens per watt, while compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) come in at 50-70 lumens per watt (lpw) and tubular fluorescent lamps produce as much as 100 lpw. Most LED light sources today deliver 35-60 lpw, though a few exceed 80 lpw. Thus, even though it’s often touted as more efficient than fluorescent lighting, most LED lighting today actually has lower efficacy than the best tubular fluorescent lights.Second, LEDs avoid the mercury that used in fluorescent, metal halide, sodium, and mercury-vapor lamps. Mercury is a highly toxic heavy metal; when older fluorescent, metal halide, sodium, or mercury vapor lamps are discarded, there is risk that the mercury in them can escape into the environment — especially if municipal solid waste is incinerated.Third, well-engineered LED lights last a long time. They can last over 50,000 hours — 50 times as long as standard incandescent bulbs, five to ten times as long as compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs), and two to four times as long as linear fluorescent lights.Challenges with LED lightingCreating high-quality white light with LEDs is pretty hard. The first LEDs produced red or green light — these are widely used as indicator lights on stereo equipment and other electronics. To produce white light, manufacturers either combine colored LEDs in carefully balanced mixes (you might remember from high school physics that white is a combination of other colors), or they use phosphor coatings that absorb the colored light and reradiate white light. (Fluorescent lights also rely on phosphor coatings; these absorb the ultraviolet light given off by the electric arc and then “fluoresce” white light.)In the session I moderated at Greenbuild, representatives from two of the leading companies in the LED lighting field talked about the state-of-the-art in LED lighting and the issue of hype vs. reality.The Silicon Valley company Xicato is now producing a modular LED light source that relies on “remote phosphors” to achieve remarkably high-quality light. These Xicato light modules have a “color rendering index” (CRI) as high as 98 (on a scale of 100) — virtually the same as the highest-quality halogen incandescent lamps. They also produce remarkably uniform white light. White LEDs often vary from yellowish to white, and that variability is much lower with the specifications Xicato uses. The company sells the LED modules to fixture manufacturers, which then produce finished light fixtures that use this light source rather than halogen MR-16 lamps.The other company represented in this conference session was Lunera, a manufacturer of a flat-panel LED light fixtures that can be installed in place of standard tubular fluorescent fixtures to provide general illumination. These fixtures are highly controllable, very uniform, and reasonably energy-efficient (though not as energy efficient as tubular fluorescents).One of the most difficult things about choosing LED lighting today is the fact that you can’t always trust manufacturer claims. Some manufacturers measure the efficacy of their lamps after they have just been turned on and before they heat up, yielding unrealistically high estimates of efficacy.Some manufacturers also do a poor job at dissipating heat from LEDs. If you don’t see aluminum fins on an LED light source, heat may build up shortening the life. I installed one reflector-type screw-in LED lamp several years ago that failed after less than two years — probably after no more than 1,000 hours of operation. This was likely due to heat build-up affecting the LEDs or the LED driver that delivers electricity to the LEDs.The best way to ensure that an LED light source is going to achieve the manufacturer’s claims about performance and durability is to look for evidence of independent testing. Some manufacturers have their products tested through the U.S. Department of Energy’s CALiPER program and can provide measured test results. Energy Star labels on LED lights also provide evidence that the lights have been independently tested, though there are not yet many products carrying the new Energy Star label for LEDs.Cost also remains an impediment with LED lighting. High-quality LED lights are pretty sophisticated, and you have to pay for that. Cheap LEDs, priced at less than about $20, may not perform well. Like computer chips used in computers, though, costs of LEDs are coming down — and will continue to do so. I fully expect that within ten years — maybe sooner — LED lighting will be cost-competitive with fluorescent lighting and provide better light quality. In addition to this Energy Solutions blog, Alex writes the weekly blog BuildingGreen Product of the Week, which profiles an interesting new green building product each week. You can sign up to receive notices of these blogs by e-mail — enter your e-mail address in the upper right corner of any blog page. Alex is founder of BuildingGreen, Inc. and executive editor of Environmental Building News. To keep up with his latest articles and musings, you can sign up for his Twitter feed. read more
As brinkmanship goes, few can compete with Salesforce.com CEO Marc Benioff or Oracle CEO Larry Ellison. While the world oohed and aahed over the dynamic duo’s nine-year partnership announced last week, missing from virtually all reports was Salesforce.com’s dalliance with PostgreSQL, the increasingly popular open-source relational database.Was Salesforce serious about Postegres? Or was it simply a way of building leverage?Salesforce Flirts With PostgreSQLLast year Salesforce, a long-time Oracle customer, sent ripples through Oracle’s Redwood Shores campus when job postings revealed that the company was hiring five Postgres developers, with the possibility of hiring as many as 50 in 2013. Those ripples became waves when Salesforce recently hired Tom Lane, a prominent Postgres developer.PostgreSQL, or Postgres as it is often referred, is an open source relational database that competes with Oracle’s own database, as well as the MySQL open source database that Oracle picked up when it acquired Sun Microsystems. Separate from these public moves, I’ve heard from several inside sources that Salesforce was, in fact, weighing the feasibility of a serious jump into Postgres as a way to break its dependence on Oracle. Now that the two companies have made long-term plans together worth at least $10 million for Oracle, however, some Postgres developers like Bruce Momjian now believe that Salesforce is dumping its interest in Postgres, and may simply have seen the open-source database as a pawn to be played in its larger negotiation with Oracle. While the Postgres community’s Josh Berkus was quick to disavow such suggestions as mere speculation, they have more than a ring of truth.All of which suggests that Salesforce never really thought about leaving Oracle behind. As one analyst friend noted to me, “The reality is that it’s very hard to migrate 14 years’ worth of customizations. Salesforce had no choice. The whole Postgres idea was nice in theory but not reality. It’s simply too hard to port.”Salesforce’s Pyhrric Negotiation Victory?Sadly for Salesforce, the company may have painted itself into a corner, even if it did manage to chop a few million off Oracle’s price tag. Make no mistake: Oracle’s database technology is excellent. The problem is that it’s also legacy, and is ill-equipped to embrace the industry’s transition to Big Data.As Cowen & Co. analyst Peter Goldmacher stresses, “Oracle … is far too rigid if Salesforce is really going to take advantage of the enormous amount of data it has. It’s not just the standard reporting/analytics they have to partner for, but it’s also the missed opportunities/flexibility to leverage all that data in so many ways.”Workday, ostensibly the loser in this Salesforce+Oracle pile-up, is built on open-source infrastructure and as such is much better positioned for the future, a theme echoed by GigaOm’s Derrick Harris.Same Ol’ Same Ol’ At SalesforcePostgres wouldn’t have solved Salesforce’s Big Data requirements, but it would have given Salesforce more sovereignty over its infrastructure. Before Salesforce crowed about running commodity servers. Now it’s paying up for Oracle’s Exadata servers. Good luck trying to get off those, or to scale them out.But it was probably too much to expect Benioff, a protegé of Ellison, to diverge too far from his Oracle background. He now declares that choosing Oracle was the best decision he has ever made. Perhaps it was. But it will be interesting to see how he feels about this even three years from now, when data infrastructure has changed dramatically and he’s still mired in legacy architecture. It’s amazing how fast the database industry has changed in the past three years, with NoSQL and Hadoop on the rise as ReadWrite‘s Brian Proffitt highlights.This will simply continue, and Salesforce has just paid to remove itself from some of the biggest innovations the tech industry has seen in 30 years. All of them open source. None of them invented at Oracle.Image courtesy of Magnus Manske under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic license. IT + Project Management: A Love Affair Matt Asay 3 Areas of Your Business that Need Tech Now Related Posts Tags:#database#Open Source#Oracle#PostgreSQL#Salesforce Cognitive Automation is the Immediate Future of… Massive Non-Desk Workforce is an Opportunity fo… read more