BEE ‘CODES NO WORRY YET’
ANGLO AMERICAN has no concerns yet about the newly gazetted Codes of Good Practice for the South African mining industry, a document critics have slammed for fundamentally altering the way empowerment is transacted. “We’re not worried now,” says Anglo American CEO Cynthia Carroll of the codes. “We’re not at that point.”
According to the document, which is intended as a guideline for empowerment in the mining industry, ownership “credits” can only be claimed when the empowerment partners have achieved “net value”. However, net value is only achieved when the empowerment firm is unencumbered. Moreover, net value must vest two years after the transaction agreement.
“If we understand that correctly, the document effectively says that any sale to an empowerment body will not accrue full credit if that… body still has debt associated with that purchase two years after the deal was done,” says stockbrokerage RBC Capital Markets in a note to its clients.
“There’s a way to work with the Chamber of Mines and the DME (SA’s Minerals Department), which is step-by-step. We’ll put our cards on the table. Everyone has to be transparent about it,” says Carroll of the codes.
Commenting on wage negotiations with the National Union of Mineworkers, Carroll says: “Frans Baleni [NUM secretary general] knows what we’re trying to do. It doesn’t mean giving handouts; it means becoming the most productive platinum producer – and we’re not that today.”
Carroll says the Anglo group had a track record of working with Government and the unions, including the successful tripartite safety summit that initiated a process Carroll ultimately sees as behind current company-specific and industry-wide safety improvements. “I’d modestly suggest fatality rate improvements of 25% as an industry and 33% as a company were the result of that initiative.”
Knows what is going on. Frans Baleni