Anglo dusts off plan to ‘facilitate’ new power supplier in SA

Business

MINING INDABA

Anglo dusts off plan to ‘facilitate’ new power supplier in SA

Miner has stopped selling South African assets

Allan Seccombe

Anglo American will not sell any more assets in South Africa after closing the deal for the Union platinum mine and the final Eskom-linked coal project, said Anglo American SA’s deputy chairman Norman Mbazima who added the company would facilitate a power company’s entrance into South Africa.
Anglo American embarked on a strategy of assets sales across the group’s varied portfolio of minerals in late 2015 when it tackled $13-billion of debt while commodity prices were weak. Since then, commodity prices have recovered and the diversified miner’s balance sheet is far healthier, allowing it to step back from a big divestment programme in South Africa that potentially included its subsidiary Kumba Iron Ore, manganese and export thermal coal.Anglo has, however, remained steadfast in its exit from mines that supply Eskom, which has insisted its coal supplies come from companies that have 51% black ownership, something that the London- and Johannesburg-listed company refused to countenance because it would be a minority partner in the mines it managed.
“We are not sellers of our thermal coal at all. That is simply not on the table,” Mbazima said on the sidelines of the African Mining Indaba in Cape Town.
“There’s not much more left in our restructuring. We are happy with what we have in iron, manganese, coal, platinum group metals and diamonds,” said Mbazima, who was tasked by CEO Mark Cutifani with restructuring the South African portfolio.
“There will be some tinkering, but not big pieces of things. We want to make sure all our businesses operate more efficiently and in that there’s more to be done,” he said. “That’s the mode we are in right now.”
Anglo has, however, dusted off a plan dating back to around 2008 when South Africa was in the depths of an electricity supply crisis because Eskom couldn’t keep pace with demand.The plan entailed building a power plant to burn discarded coal to supply its energy intensive platinum business, keeping its mines, concentrators, smelters and refineries working and less reliant on grid power.
After going quiet for a number of years, the plan is again receiving attention from Anglo SA.
“We will not invest in a power station, but we help facilitate one. It will be our coal,” Mbazima said, declining to give more details. There was also a solar energy project Anglo was investigating in the Northern Cape and it would provide the land for the project.
“We will pick who investors will be,” he said.​Zwane blithe about SA’s mining challenges
Mineral Resources Minister Mosebenzi Zwane on Monday spoke of good relations and positive meetings with global mining firms operating in South Africa‚ even as some delegates attending the 2018 Mining Indaba signalled they want him removed from the post.
“Through our open-door policy‚ we continue to prioritise the promotion of good working relations with right-holders‚ and we engage on a continuous basis on issues which will advance the growth and development of the sector‚” the minister said at the opening of the Indaba.
“Since our arrival in Cape Town a few days ago we have met with some of the global mining firms operating in our country‚ including Rio Tinto — on the company’s plans to expand its operations and extend its life of mine‚ with a potential investment to the tune of $450-million. The company has also demonstrated its willingness to align with government policies‚ by exceeding the targets we have set for empowerment and transformation. We also received an update on the Venetia Underground Project from De Beers‚ an investment estimated at $2-billion‚ which is extending the life of mine to beyond 2040.
“As the week progresses we will continue engaging with the investment community and hold bilateral discussions with visiting Ministers‚ to see what progresses we together have made in this industry.”
Business Day reported, however, that delegates were concerned Zwane’s presence at the showcase of African mining‚ attended by investors from around the world‚ would send the wrong message.
Zwane is under investigation for his role in alleged corruption and questionable behaviour while in provincial and national government positions. He has repeatedly protested his innocence.
The industry has also appealed to government to reassure investors that it is dealing with the issues that soured perceptions of South Africa as an investor-friendly mining destination‚ and that it is prepared to renegotiate the third version of the Mining Charter‚ which is now the subject of a court battle. – TimesLIVEWater crisis fails to dampen indaba’s business
Diamonds are forever‚ but not fresh water which is in short supply at this year’s Mining Indaba at the Cape Town International Convention Centre.
Delegates arriving on Monday at the country’s biggest mining talk-shop had to wash up with hand sanitisers and are being offered biodegradable crockery to reduce their water “footprint”.
The convention centre’s CEO Julie-May Ellingson on Monday confirmed several new measures aimed at water saving. Even bottled water is being imported from suppliers outside the Western Cape‚ Ellingson said.
“In addition‚ our water account shows the centre has already recorded a 42% saving in water consumption for the first quarter of its current financial year compared to the same period last year. Indeed‚ our rainwater and grey water re-use system has been very effective in reducing our use of municipal water over the past year‚” she said.
All hand-wash basins only offer hand sanitisers and linen napkins have been replaced with high-quality disposable napkins to “reduce laundry loads”.
Ellingson said the centre’s water supply would not be affected on “Day Zero” – when the city plans to cut supply to a large proportion of urban households – because the central business district is one of the areas excluded from Day Zero cutoffs.
“As such‚ our doors will remain open and we will continue to host all our events. The only area that might be affected is air-conditioning‚ which requires relatively large amounts of potable water. As a purpose-built convention centre we can‚ however‚ assure fresh air is circulated throughout all venues‚” she said. – Bobby Jordan

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