Govt. plans to go toe-to-toe with Anglo American

Ngoako Ramatlhodi yesterday specified which assets government would be targeting.

FILE: Government has announced plans to establish what it says will be a mining champion big enough to rival Anglo American through the acquisition of projects being disposed of by multinationals in the country.  Picture: Facebook

CAPE TOWN - Government has announced plans to establish what it says will be a mining champion big enough to rival Anglo American through the acquisition of projects being disposed of by multinationals in the country.

The plans were announced by Mineral Resources Minister Ngoako Ramatlhodi last year and yesterday he specified which assets government would be targeting.

The discussions took place at the 2015 Annual African Mining Indaba Conference which continues today in Cape Town.

The minister says they have not yet decided on the scope of the new company but will target the sale of Anglo American and BHP Billiton's assets in platinum and coal.

Ramatlhodi says these companies need to sell their assets with a comprehensive turnaround plan that will turn it into black empowered representative businesses.

Chamber of Mines President Mike Teke says the establishment of a umbrella company must be preceded by widespread consultation as this will inspire investor confidence.

"For it to be run as a business, you need experienced players who I am referring to as the 'Shepard' and this 'Shepard' would have to give us guarantees that they not going to sell and run."

Meanwhile, Anglo American Platinum Chris Griffith says along with the sale of its Rustenburg mines, the company must embrace modernisation and build a different relationship with its employees.

"And the minister is saying; let me take advantage of this opportunity, if these assets become available, can they be in the hands of a champion. But what is critical is that we will ensure that whoever comes in will look at the broad-based nature of the transaction."

Griffith says modernisation must include every phase in the mining process and its labour relations should give workers a sense of responsibility.

"We also need to modernise how we mine, process and conduct our business. The us-and-them syndrome needs to end and this requires a labour force that has a sense of ownership and responsibility in the fortunes of the company."