Every Friday morning, SAfm’s AMLive’s radio anchor Sakina Kamwendo speaks to Martin Creamer, publishing editor of Engineering News and Mining Weekly. Reported here is this Friday’s At the Coalface transcript:
Kamwendo: South Africa’s foremost mining CEO this week warned of more job carnage unless the country can attract foreign direct investment.
Creamer: The person speaking was an outspoken Australian Mark Cutifani, who is the CEO of Anglo American. It is wonderful how firmly he feels about his interests in South Africa and the heart that he uses when he talks and pleads with South Africa to change at this point.
He was the one who accurately predicted six years ago that the mining industry would lose 100 000 jobs and when you do the ten multiplier on that, you realise that a million people were affected by loss of 100 000 jobs in mining. He is now saying without change in the mining industry, we are heading for a loss of another 100 000 jobs. He is saying we are doing this against the background of an unemployement situation in South Africa of 28%.
He is warning that the future does not bare thinking about unless we can get particularly our youth back to work. He is saying it can be done in mining. All South Africans have got to do is create a proper legislative framework and allow foreign direct investment in, because without it, the mines do not have the money to grow.
Kamwendo: South African mining companies are making sure that the mines they sell go into good hands.
Creamer: I am very impressed with the way the disposal of assets is taking place in this mining industry, which is going through a tough time. We know we had that terrible debacle out in the East Rand with the Aurora Pamodzi issue, when Pamodzi went into liquidation and the mine changed hands and the people taking it did not have the money to run it.
You now have that Grootvlei in ruins, even though we know that there are still tons of gold under there, and it can be recovered. But now we are seeing a lot of responsibility as mines change hands. We noticed with Harmony Gold’s purchase from AngloGold Ashanti of the Moab Khotsong asset, this is a win-win for both parties. AnlgoGold Ashanti is getting the $300-million and Harmony Gold is higher average grades.
They are getting better earnings potential. They are lifted, because Harmony has always been a bottom feeder, it has always worked on low-cost whereas AngloGold Ashanti is more of a mining that wants to drive, in mining terms, the Royals Royces of the gold industry. It is able to dispose in a very seemless way, which is very good for South Africa and very good for job retention.
Kamwendo: Thanks very much. Martin Creamer is publishing editor of Engineering News and Mining Weekly.