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Iodine used as a spacecraft propellant for the first time
Published: 22 Jan 21
In what could very well prove to be a major development for space technology, a satellite has used an iodine propellant to alter its orbit around the Earth. This is the first time that iodine has been used as a propellant on a spacecraft.  The iodine thruster was fitted to a commercial research nanosatellite designated SpaceTy Beihangkongshi-1. The thruster was developed by French startup ThrustMe, supported by the European Space Agency. ThrustMe was spun-off from France’s École Polytechnique and the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (National Scientific Research Centre). 
After pandemic, oil firms even less willing to cover $3.9bn cost of South Africa's clean fuel plan
Published: 22 Jan 21
After being hit by the pandemic, oil companies in South Africa are unlikely to upgrade refineries to cut sulphur emissions unless the government allows them to pass the costs on to consumers or offers other support, the South African Petroleum Industry Association (Sapia) says. New rules requiring oil refineries in South Africa to cut diesel sulphur levels to 10 parts per million (ppm) had been due to come into effect in 2017 but have been postponed indefinitely due to a disagreement between the government and SAPIA, which represents oil majors, over who will cover the cost.
Redefine Properties resolves not to declare full-year dividend
Published: 22 Jan 21
The board of real estate investment trust (Reit) Redefine Properties has resolved not to pay a dividend in respect of the 2020 financial year, in the face of ongoing Covid-19 uncertainty. The board explained in a January 22 statement that it had considered the needs of all stakeholders in the context of a rapidly changing trading environment.
Contura name change to reflect metallurgical future
Published: 22 Jan 21
NYSE-listed Contura Energy on Friday announced that it would change its name to Alpha Metallurgical Resources on February 1. The rebranding effort aims to more accurately relects the company's strategic focus on the production of metallurgical coal as a critical feedstock for steel production. Contura's recent divestiture of the Cumberland mine, in Pennsylvania, largely marked the company's exit from the thermal coal business.
‘Comply with Political Party Funding Act’ – Pityana urges business, politicians ‘Comply with Political Party Funding Act’ – Pityana urges business, politicians
Published: 22 Jan 21
With the Political Party Funding Act expected to come into effect from April 1, Business Unity South Africa president Sipho Pityana has called on political parties and business to urgently comply with the legislation. President Cyril Ramaphosa announced the signing of the Act, on Friday, paving the way for transparent and accountable party funding. Pityana said the legislation was a long time coming.
AfCTFA to help drive continent’s economic recovery from Covid-19 pandemic
Published: 22 Jan 21
The African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) can help drive the continent’s economic recovery from the deadly coronavirus pandemic and spur transformation, says Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) regional integration and trade division director Stephen Karingi. He says that, given that Africa does not have the fiscal space for trillion-dollar stimulus packages as it attempts to ‘build forward better’ from the impact of Covid-19, the AfCFTA, driven by the private sector, is going to be key in unlocking Africa’s potential.
Extraterrestrial oceanography sees scientists probing the depths of Titan’s largest sea Extraterrestrial oceanography sees scientists probing the depths of Titan’s largest sea
Published: 22 Jan 21
Astronomers at Cornell University, at Ithaca in the US state of New York, have used radar data to determine that the biggest sea on Titan, the largest moon of Saturn, is, near its centre, at least 300 m deep. The sea is named Kraken Mare, and it is estimated to have a surface area of some 400 000 km2, which would make it bigger than Earth’s Caspian Sea. Titan is the second largest moon in the Solar System and is larger than the planet Mercury (the largest moon is Ganymede, which orbits ...
Tito Mboweni asks for more time for Treasury report after missing first deadline Tito Mboweni asks for more time for Treasury report after missing first deadline
Published: 22 Jan 21
Minister of Finance Tito Mboweni wrote to the Speaker of Parliament Thandi Modise asking that the legislature grant National Treasury an extension for the submission of its annual report and financial statements, while it irons out differences with the office of the Auditor General. The letter was included in the circular of announcements, tablings and committee notices in Parliament on Thursday. This comes after last year's deadline of 31 December was not met.
Gold Fields starts construction of Salares Norte mining infrastructure Gold Fields starts construction of Salares Norte mining infrastructure
Published: 22 Jan 21
Dual-listed Gold Fields has formally started construction of the mining infrastructure at its Salares Norte project, in Chile. Construction of the $860-million project is scheduled to be completed in late 2022, with first gold production in early 2023. Once commissioned, the mine will process two-million tons of ore a year for the production of doré gold.
Sibanye announces senior management changes
Published: 22 Jan 21
Precious metals miner Sibanye-Stillwater has made further changes to its organisational structure, which it says is designed to enhance delivery and strategic focus. Robert van Niekerk, previously executive VP: Group Technical, has been appointed chief technology officer, effective from December 1, 2020.
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