Seriti CEO Teke Keen to Study Bid for Guptas' Optimum Coal MineBy
Guptas acquired mine through Tegeta from Glencore in 2015
Teke previously operated Optimum before stake sale to Glencore
Seriti Resources Holdings Ltd. would consider purchasing Optimum Coal Mine, which is under administration and linked to the politically connected Gupta family.
Optimum -- acquired by a company part-owned by the Gupta family from Glencore Plc in December 2015 -- started business rescue proceedings last week after citing a “hardship clause” as it stopped supplying the Hendrina power station. Businesses owned by the Gupta family are struggling as banks are unwilling to work with them after allegations of corruption related to their links with former South African President Jacob Zuma.
Seriti Chief Executive Officer Mike Teke said he’d “love to” look at the mine. “In every colliery there’s an opportunity,” he said at a press conference in Johannesburg.
Teke previously operated and owned a stake in Optimum before selling it to Glencore in 2011. On Thursday, Seriti announced the completion of its 2.3 billion rand ($193 million) purchase of the New Vaal, New Denmark and Kriel coal mines from Anglo American Plc.
Duduzane Zuma, one of the sons of the former South African president, was a partner for the Guptas when Tegeta Exploration & Resources paid Glencore 2.15 billion rand for Optimum.
While South African police have declared Ajay Gupta a fugitive from justice, the family and Zuma have denied any wrongdoing.
Members of the National Union of Mineworkers have protested at the Optimum mine because some workers haven’t been paid.