JOHANNESBURG (miningweekly.com) – The response of South Africa’s ruling African National Congress (ANC) party at its recent policy conference, that further discussion is required on the controversial Mining Charter Three, to ensure that investment and employment levels are not negatively affected, has been described as “very constructive” by Anglo American CEO Mark Cutifani.
Responding to journalists’ questions following Anglo’s posting of strong half-year earnings that hit the $1.5-billion mark and cash flow that soared to $2.7-billion, Cutifani said Anglo was supportive of the legal course of action being followed by the Chamber of Mines, with the ultimate objective being arriving at a solution that was practically implementable and that preserved and enhanced investment in what is a critically important South African industry.
Cutifani cautioned that in the absence of new investment, South Africa would fail to deliver the economic growth required to create greater levels of employment and socioeconomic upliftment for the benefit of all South Africans and reiterated Anglo’s commitment to meeting South Africa’s transformation objectives.
He condemned Mining Charter Three as a document that “just doesn’t work on any level. It’s confused and it’s confusing. We’ve got to go back to square one”, he said during a conference call in which Creamer Media’s Mining Weekly Online participated.
He singled out the response of the ANC as being “very constructive in suggesting that we all get back to the table and start again”.
For those who understood the industry, Mining Charter Three was a document that would not work in any mining jurisdiction.
“We want to maintain our lead in transformation and we’ll be constructive in the process. But we just have to start again,” he said.
Cutifani did not anticipate that Anglo would take a final position on the restructuring of its coal and iron-ore businesses in South Africa until 2018.
In the meantime, it would continue to reduce overheads, clean out corporate structures and maximise flexibility and nimbleness.
“We’ve taken more than 40% out of our costs. We’ll keep doing that work. We’ll engage with the government on the future profile for us in South Africa, but realistically, and I’ve always said this, we won’t make a final call during the course of 2017,” he said, adding that whatever course of action Anglo took would require the support of the new leadership.
“So, I’d expect in 2018 we’d take a final position,” he said in outlining that any decision would be connected to the policy calls that the South African government made during the course of the next 12 months.
“So, there’s still a lot happening. Many conversations. We’re focused on improving the business and that’s where we’re going to keep our eye,” he added.