Tearful Cutifani in appeal to end ‘tide of destruction’ in mining – by Allan Seccombe (South Africa Business Day – August 30, 2013)


A DEEPLY emotional Mark Cutifani, the CEO of Anglo American and president of the Chamber of Mines, has urged the government not to add to the risks besetting the mining sector by creating regulatory uncertainty.

“Our most important industry is in crisis and we have not yet found the answer to stemming the tide of destruction,” he said.

Mr Cutifani broke down in tears at the start of a speech at a dinner on Thursday marking the end of the three-day Mining Lekgotla in Sandton, where stakeholders gathered to discuss the sector’s competitiveness and transformation.

He said “cowards, thugs and murderers” and “loud-mouthed opportunists” should not be allowed to intimidate and bully others and to define the dialogue South Africa was having.

Mr Cutifani, the former CEO of AngloGold Ashanti, praised the achievements of South Africa, which had undergone one of the world’s largest social reconstructions since the demise of apartheid in 1994. However, despite the JSE outperforming the New York bourse since 2007, posting a 60% growth, the mining index was flat and had destroyed 30% of absolute value in the same time, he said.

“Mining is about real estate and security of tenure — that is, if you threaten ownership, you threaten everything,” he said.

“We must remove uncertainty and that means the state must stop threatening ownership. Once you stop threatening ownership, you will set a starting foundation for new investment,” he said.

A key source of concern for mining companies are the amendments to the Mineral and Petroleum Resources Development Act proposed by the government, and which are largely untouched despite 80 submissions for changes to areas that deeply concern the sector.

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