Char­ter must go back to square one – An­glo boss

CityPress - - Business - JUSTIN BROWN busi­ness@city­press.co.za

Ne­go­ti­a­tions around the Min­ing Char­ter should start all over again as the lat­est gazetted doc­u­ment didn’t “work on any level”, An­glo Amer­i­can CEO Mark Cu­ti­fani said this week.

“We should be care­ful not to call it min­ing char­ter three. It is con­fused and it is con­fus­ing. It doesn’t work for any­one. So, I think we have to go back to square one in the con­ver­sa­tions. The Cham­ber [of Mines] has made that very clear and we are part of that ac­tion.”

The Cham­ber of Mines has brought three court cases against Min­eral Re­sources Min­is­ter Mosebenzi Zwane, in­clud­ing chal­leng­ing the char­ter in court on a num­ber of counts.

“The re­sponse of the ANC was very con­struc­tive – sug­gest­ing we all go back to the ta­ble and start again.

“The doc­u­ment just doesn’t work – it wouldn’t work in any ju­ris­dic­tion,” he said.

“We are com­mit­ted to work­ing with ev­ery­one on trans­for­ma­tion.

“We just have to start again,” Cu­ti­fani said. The min­ing in­dus­try and gov­ern­ment had to work to­gether to create a im­ple­mentable pol­icy frame­work, he said.

Zwane’s char­ter and his move to look at freez­ing min­eral rights trans­fers was “not help­ful”, he added.

“South Africa needs all the good press it can get. We need to at­tract in­vest­ment. We need to look at­trac­tive to ev­ery­one in the world so they want to come in and create jobs,” Cu­ti­fani said.

In another de­vel­op­ment, An­glo Amer­i­can this week joined Kumba Iron Ore, in which An­glo holds a 70% stake, in re­sum­ing div­i­dend pay­ments.

In De­cem­ber 2015, An­glo put its div­i­dend on hold for the first time since 2009.

Cu­ti­fani also flagged new growth op­tions – “qual­ity growth op­tion iden­ti­fied”, he told in­vestors.

Turn­ing to Kumba and other lo­cal as­sets such as coal mines that An­glo has been look­ing to sell, Cu­ti­fani said there were “no for­mal” pro­cesses to sell any lo­cal as­sets at the mo­ment.

Any fur­ther sales of lo­cal as­sets would re­quire the sup­port of gov­ern­ment and, with the ANC hold­ing an elec­tive con­fer­ence in De­cem­ber, An­glo would prob­a­bly only take a new view on any lo­cal as­sets sales next year.

Any sales of lo­cal as­sets would be “con­nected to the pol­icy calls the South African gov­ern­ment makes dur­ing the course of the next 12 months”, he said.

It ap­pears that An­glo is con­fi­dent of re­claim­ing its in­vest­ment grade rat­ing. In the group pre­sen­ta­tion ma­te­rial showed this week, the com­pany in­di­cated that it be­lieved it had achieved “in­vest­ment grade met­rics”.

Ear­lier this year, In­dian bil­lion­aire Anil Agar­wal bought an 11% stake in An­glo.

“He has been vo­cal in the press sup­port­ing what we have been do­ing ... In all the con­ver­sa­tions we have had, he has been very sup­port­ive of the strat­egy,” Cu­ti­fani said.

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