Anglo American chief warns on S Africa mining talks – by Andrew England (Financial Times – July 10, 2013)

Mark Cutifani, chief executive of Anglo American, warned on Wednesday that the wage negotiations beginning in South Africa’s mining sector will determine not only the future of the industry, but also the future of the continent’s largest economy.

Speaking to the Financial Times a day before gold miners open salary talks, Mr Cutifani said: “[I am] worried for South Africa, I’m worried for the industry and I’m worried for the people. We have got to get the balance right”.

The mining industry in South Africa is entering two-yearly wage negotiations as many companies are still recovering from a weeks of wildcat strikes last year. That unrest is estimated to have cost the industry more than R15bn ($1.5bn) in lost revenue, while some 50 people were killed in strike-related violence.

How the wage talks proceed is seen as a major test for the country’s fragile labour relations, with concerns that any further unrest could have a contagion effect on other sectors.

“The period we are in now is the most important period I’ve seen in my time here in the [South African] industry – it is so critical for the future of the industry and the future of the country,” said Mr Cutifani, who is also president of the South African Chamber of Mines.

“It is not just the mines – it’s everyone connected, because the mining industry is so important to South Africa and touches so many parts of the country.”

For the rest of this article, click here: