South Africa: Sonjicas Meeting With Anglo CEO Important to Clarify Mining Charteradmin
Minerals and Energy Minister Buyelwa Sonjica says her meeting with Anglo American Chief Executive Officer, Cynthia Carroll, was important given the “misunderstandings and distortions” surrounding the mining charter.
One of the charter’s key objectives is to achieve 26 percent ownership of mining companies by previously disadvantaged people by 2014.
It provides a framework to help mining companies comply with the Minerals and Petroleum Resources Development Act.
The Act obliges mining companies to promote black economic empowerment when applying for new mineral rights or converting current rights.
A key component of the mining charter is the mining scorecard, which provides a framework for measuring the Black Economic Empowerment (BEE) process in the sector.
The scorecard entails direct empowerment through ownership and control of enterprises and assets, human resource development and employment equity; and indirect empowerment through preferential procurement and enterprise development.
The department has been at loggerheads with Anglo American’s subsidiary and the largest platinum mining body in the world, Anglo Platinum, over compliance issues relating to the charter, particularly the Act.
Anglo Platinum has since pursued legal recourse against the department seeking clarity on issues surrounding the rights-conversion process.
Addressing the media following the meeting on Monday, Minister Sonjica indicated that it was evident that there was little understanding of the charter within the mining industry in the country.
The minister said the social development and BEE components of the Act were those that were mainly misunderstood.
She emphasised that it was therefore important for Anglo American, its subsidiaries (Anglo Platinum) and newly appointed CEO Ms Carroll to have a good understanding of the Act.
“There must be an understanding of mainly the philosophy behind the act.
“This is important given the misunderstandings and distortions or maybe the different understandings of the charter between us as a Ministry and the industry,” Ms Sonjica said.
She added that in her meeting with Ms Carroll, a solution had not been reached to current state of affairs between the department and Anglo Platinum.
More discussions on this issue have been agreed to.
Further to this Ms Sonjica said their meeting discussed the need for the strengthening of the relationship between Government and Anglo American.
“Anglo is the biggest mining company in the country and the fourth largest company in the world and therefore it is indeed quiet strategic and important for us to have a good relationship,” she said.
Ms Carroll agreed that there was a need to strengthen ties between Anglo American and the South African government.
“Involvement with one another is very important for South Africa and Anglo American,” she told reporters.
She added that she would be visiting mines, interacting with employees and management.
The meeting also discussed skills development and women involvement within the industry as well education.
Ms Carroll, an American, started her career as a geologist and has become the first woman to head up Anglo American in the company’s 90 year history.
She is also one of only three female CEOs of companies listed on London’s FTSE 100 exchange.
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