Ramaphosa offers South African miners light at end of tunnel – by Neil Hume (Financial Times – February 13, 2018)


Ending deadlock over mining laws key to reviving industry and a more business-friendly environment

The change at the top of the ruling African National Congress party has given fresh hope to South Africa’s embattled mining industry.

Executives who descended on Cape Town last week for the annual Investing in African Mining Indaba expressed hope that Cyril Ramaphosa, the party’s new leader, will be able to break the deadlock over controversial new mining laws and create a more business-friendly environment.

“The new leader of the ANC is making a mark and it is a very positive mark,” said Neal Froneman, chief executive of Sibanye-Stillwater, one of the world’s biggest platinum producers. “Some of the key issues are now being addressed.”

Mr Froneman said there had already been “a lot of informal approaches” to the industry by senior government figures since Mr Ramaphosa emerged victorious from December’s ANC leadership contest. “We have not been consulted in this way for many years,” he said.

Mr Ramaphosa, a former union leader and one of South Africa’s wealthiest black businessmen, is poised to replace Jacob Zuma as the country’s president after the ANC ordered Mr Zuma to resign on Tuesday.

He has pledged to tackle state corruption and revive a stagnant economy, where unemployment is near 30 per cent. However, analysts believe this will be hard to do unless he can revive the mining industry.

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