South African Mines Minister Says Anglo Sales to Happen Soon

Why Anglo American Platinum Is Putting Projects on Hold
  • Zwane says Anglo should have informed government sooner
  • Blacks should have greater stakes in mining projects: Zwane

South African Mineral Resources Minister Mosebenzi Zwane said Anglo American Plc will probably announce sales of its coal assets in the country in the next two weeks.

Anglo is selling its South African coal mines in a bid to cut debt as some of the biggest mining companies have suffered from a drop in commodity prices.

“It is going to happen during the course of this week or next week,” Zwane said in an interview at the sidelines of an industry conference in Cape Town on Monday.

Zwane, who has been in office since September, said he wished Anglo had communicated with the government on the sales earlier. In December 2014, the company said it was considering exiting its South African thermal-coal operations.

“I’ve raised my concerns to them, to say some of the actions, I’m not happy with,” Zwane said. “I think they should have foreseen these things. I think they should have restructured earlier and given other people a chance.”

South Africa said it will try and ensure job losses are minimal, even as it seeks to increase the stakes of black shareholders in mining companies from the regulated 26 percent minimum. The policy is attempt to address white domination of the economy shaped during centuries of colonial and apartheid rule.

“Let’s create these black champions,” Zwane said. “It will not be created by policy. It will be created by willingness to engage. I don’t want to force percentages.”

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