AngloGold Ashanti Ltd. is cautiously optimistic the South African government and the country’s mining industry will resolve a dispute over black share-ownership rules that threatens to dilute investors.
The Department of Mineral Resources last month published revised regulations that mandated mines be 26 percent owned by black investors even if they subsequently sold their stakes and gave companies no credit for previous so-called empowerment deals. The industry, represented by the Chamber of Mines, says this would lead to continual dilution of existing shareholders.
“We shouldn’t ask companies to go through double jeopardy,” AngloGold Chief Executive Officer Srinivasan Venkatakrishnan said in a phone interview, referring to historic deals. “Ultimately you will start to see some consensus emerge from this one. That’s my honest view.”
AngloGold reached its empowerment obligations by selling off some Free State province mines in the early 2000s to African Rainbow Minerals Ltd. and Harmony Gold Mining Co., a method of meeting the rules that’s no longer recognized in the government’s most recent proposals.
“We’re trying to come up with a solution that will preserve the deals that have been done in the past,” Venkatakrishnan said. “At this stage, we fully expect previous deals to be recognized so from that point of view we don’t see any risk” of further shareholder dilution.