Has Mineweb effectively disappeared as an international site?

Time was when Mineweb.com, based in South Africa and owned by South Africa’s Moneyweb, run by well known journalist Alec Hogg, was arguably the world’s top independent international mining industry website.  It was edited and managed by myself out of London and carried international mining sector coverage perhaps unequalled anywhere in the world at the time.  We had some great internationally-based writers and it was supported by advertising from mining and associated companies from several countries – and in at least one year its revenues were such that they were instrumental in keeping its parent company viable.  The bulk of its income came in in US and Canadian dollars which for a company domiciled in South Africa, with a depreciating domestic currency, was doubly valuable.

Recently, having been asked by several people what had happened to the site, I clicked on Mineweb.com to see how it was faring, to find it was nowadays only a subsection of its parent, Moneyweb.co.za, and was only publishing a handful of articles.  The first featured article on the Mineweb site’s homepage was a Reuters article on Anglo American’s 2016 performance, dated January 26th, almost 6 months earlier and the second featured article was also a Reuters story on Goldman Sachs’ copper price predictions for 2017 – which was even older!

Scrolling down through the site I did find a couple of articles written in the current month, both Reuters stories on Sibanye Gold’s Cooke Section problems, but it appears that original articles written by Mineweb reporters are nowadays effectively non-existent- or at least that is the way it appears.

So what happened to Mineweb?  The initial nail in its coffin was that Alec Hogg lost control of the parent company and was ousted from its board. (Alec has since set up, and runs, www.biznews.com – a direct competitor to Moneyweb in South Africa). I was still editor of Mineweb at the time, but was soon replaced in that position by Warren Dick in Johannesburg and became just a correspondent for the site.  Our key Reno-based writer, Dorothy Kosich was let go and my position gradually became untenable as the site became more and more South African focused and we agreed to part ways.  That left one directly employed internationally-based writer, Kip Keen in Canada, and eventually he was let go too.

Most of the mining based advertising had disappeared, along with our key advertising salesperson, Jan Chadwick, who resigned when she saw the direction the site was taking.  She is now semi-retired occasionally helping out her husband, John Chadwick on mining conferences for his own mining publication, International Mining, now probably the world’s top mining monthly magazine.

So Mineweb still exists, but only as a section on its Moneyweb parent site, and publishes little of its own material, relying primarily on the Reuters and Bloomberg services for its articles with occasional input from its parent company’s correspondents on South African mining matters – and even then, as with the Sibanye articles mentioned above it may well use one of the international wire services. That, in my opinion, is a great shame.  Its readership outside South Africa is a tiny fraction of what it used to be – there can now be few, if any, international readers who have Mineweb as their own initial go-to webpage, and its independent editorial coverage of the global mining sector is mostly long gone.  A cautionary tale about what happens to  a niche business when it is taken over by a much larger company which doesn’t see it as a core part of their operation!

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My posts on other sites

As regular readers of lawrieongold will know, I also write for other websites – notably sharpspixley.com, biznews.com and seekingalpha.com.  Here are some links to my recent posts on these sites which readers may find of interest:

SHARPS PIXLEY

The COMEX gold warehousing debate – the truth

We have seen articles suggesting that COMEX gold warehouse gold stocks are low to the point of serious concern in the ability to provide physical gold on contracts which demand it.

An event for the gold and silver great and good!

This year’s Denver Gold Forum starts this weekend with presentations from key executives from virtually all the world’s top 20 gold mining companies as well as a series of keynote addresses.

The implications for gold of a global stock market crash

Global stock markets are ALL well below their 52 week highs and behaving with considerable nervous volatility. Could this be the beginnings of a major market crash and if so what would happen to gold?

China’s SGE gold demand beating global new mined supply

Lawrence Williams – July and August Chinese gold demand figures as suggested by SGE withdrawals are actually higher than the world’s total supply of newly mined gold.

Could gold drop below $1,000? If there’s a stock market crash – yes.

Lawrence Williams – Gold could fall back below $1,000 but not directly as a result of Fed interest rate rises, but if there is a major stock market crash again as in 2008.

SEEKING ALPHA

July/August Chinese Gold ‘Demand’ Exceeded Total Global Supply

BIZNEWS

Randgold/Anglogold JV to rebuild Obuasi gold mine in Ghana

The Obuasi mine was the key Ghanaian asset of Ashanti Goldfields in the merger…

ex-Gold Field’s Mali project, Humming along to first gold

Hummingbird Resources appears to be making excellent progress on bringing Gold Fields’ former Yanfolila…

All change on the gold commentary front

This is to report a switch in the publication of my gold commentary articles from tomorrow onwards.  After running, and then writing freelance for, Mineweb for the past nine years, I will be ceasing to do so by mutual consent from midnight tonight.  However I will not be ceasing to write!  For the foreseeable future I will be writing precious metals commentary for www.sharpspixley.com and www.biznews.com/gold as well as here on lawrieongold – with maybe the occasional article on Seeking Alpha.

If you enjoy reading my material, or find it valuable, you may be best served by adding the sharpspixley and biznews sites into your bookmarks – they are both totally free to access.

Sharps Pixley is a London-based precious metals dealer and information supplier and is part of the huge German Degussa group.  It is run by Ross Norman, a very well known forecaster and commentator on gold and precious metals markets in his own right.  It has one of the oldest names in precious metals trade and is launching a brand new bullion sales ‘shop front’ outlet in London’s West End later this year.  The site publishes daily updated precious metals news headlines as well as commentary written specifically for it by its own group of writers.

Biznews is a South African general investment site and its gold section has been set up recently aimed at an international audience.  Biznews is owned and run by Moneyweb and Mineweb founder, Alec Hogg, a hugely respected South African financial journalist.  It is a recent and rapidly growing website, still largely focused on southern Africa, and will enable me to renew my association with Alec who originally hired me to manage, edit and write for Mineweb nearly a decade ago.