Firm tries to end dispute
Platinum giant Lonmin said on Friday it was committed to reaching a deal within days to end a labor dispute that has killed 44 people at a South African mine as authorities revived mediation efforts. Lonmin, the world’s third-largest platinum firm, said it would spend the weekend persuading the workers to return to the job on Monday, following the nation’s deadliest police action since apartheid.
YPF in talks with Chevron
Nationalized Argentine oil firm YPF said on Friday that it held talks with US company Chevron on cooperation in the development of Vaca Muerta shale oil and gas reserves in western Argentina. YPF chief executive Miguel Galuccio discussed working together on tertiary recovery projects and unconventional deposits in the Neuquen province oil and gas basin with Chevron’s Latin America and Africa director, Ali Moshiri, the Argentine company said. In May the Argentine government seized YPF from Repsol, accusing the Spanish oil giant of allowing oil and gas production to lapse, forcing the country’s oil import bill to rise.
European fund faces delay
The European Commission has asked Spain to delay by another week the plans to create a “bad bank,” a fund that would pool much of its financial sector’s soured property investments, so that experts in Brussels can review the project, the government in Madrid said on Friday. The planned legislation was initially scheduled to be approved at Friday’s Cabinet meeting, but will now be cleared at the next ministers’ meeting on Aug. 31, Deputy Prime Minister Soraya Saenz de Santamaria said. The banks, eight of which have been nationalized, are loaded with more than 176 billion euros (US$223 billion) in bad real estate loans and other investments following the collapse of the property market in 2008.
Jewelry firm fined for fraud
A Hong Kong jewelry company has been fined US$800,000 for defrauding US Customs of more than US$1 million. Fai Po Jewellery Co entered its plea and was sentenced on Friday in the US District Court in Anchorage. The company must also pay just over US$1 million in restitution and the costs of the investigation.
The US Attorney’s office for Alaska said that the company prepared two invoices for every shipment of gold to US buyers. One with the true amount was sent to the buyer, but a smaller invoice that undervalued the goods was sent with the shipment through customs.
Chip sales set to slow
IHS iSuppli said on Friday that global semiconductor chip shipments are set to fall by 0.1 percent this year. That is down from a previous forecast for growth of up to 3 percent. It is the first annual decline since recession-colored 2009. ISuppli said shipments slowed noticeably compared to normal seasonal patterns in the April to June period. The weak global economy is one culprit, but most of the slowdown is in chips for PCs, iSuppli said. The company predicts better luck for the high-tech industry next year, projecting a 9 percent jump in chip shipments.