Charter must go back to square one – Anglo boss
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.