Anglo American urges South Africa to ‘stop the rot’ in mining – by Neil Hume and Joseph Cotterill (Financial Times – February 6, 2017)

Company calls for an investment-friendly law on black ownership of the sector

Cape Town – The chief executive of Anglo American has called on South Africa’s government to end a “20-year rot” in the country’s mining industry by issuing investment-friendly legislation about black ownership of the sector’s companies.

Mark Cutifani said the next three to four months would be the “most important for the South African mining industry in 150 years”, with the ruling African National Congress overhauling laws to redress economic inequality in the sector.

“We’ve had an industry [in South Africa] that’s been shrinking for 20 years. If we are going to stop the rot, we need a document and a framework that encourages investment,” Mr Cutifani told the Financial Times on the sidelines of a mining conference in Cape Town.

Mosebenzi Zwane, the country’s mineral resources minister, told the Mining Indaba event, involving 6,000 delegates, that his department would release a revised South African mining charter about black ownership in March, and press ahead with implementing “a tool for transforming the mining industry”.

Rising costs, red tape and political uncertainty have made companies increasingly wary of investing in South African mines, in spite of the country hosting the world’s biggest platinum reserves and significant holdings of coal, gold and iron ore.

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