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Fri Oct 31 14:14:14 SAST 2014

Minerals minister has no regrets

TJ STRYDOM | 06 February, 2013 00:19
Mineral Resources Minister Susan Shabangu. File photo.
Image by: Lisa Hnatowicz

Mineral Resources Minister Susan Shabangu does not regret saying that she would review Anglo Platinum's mining licences.

She made the statement last month, on the day the world's biggest platinum miner announced that 14000 workers would be affected by its restructuring plans.

"It was not controversial; it was a factual statement," she said yesterday in Cape Town.

Shabangu had slammed Amplats CEO Chris Griffith for not consulting her department before making the announcement of the restructuring to the press last month.

She has also questioned the company's intentions and accused it of acting in bad faith.

The share prices of Amplats and of Anglo American, which holds more than three-quarters of Amplats, took a knock.

Amplats has since entered into discussions with Shabangu's department and announced last month that it would suspend its restructuring plans for at least 60 days as it tries to thrash out a deal with the government.

Earlier this week, Amplats' financial results showed a loss of more than R6-billion after a profit of about R8-billion in 2011. Its nett debt grew by about R7-billion to R10.5-billion.

Shabangu hit a more conciliatory tone in her speech at the opening of the mining indaba yesterday.

"I would like to affirm that our government is fully conscious of the reality that mineral development cannot happen unless capital is invested by the private sector."

She said she was "satisfied" at how the talks with Amplats were progressing.

Asked whether she will review the company's licences, she said: "We are talking; you can't review when you are talking."

Wildcat strikes greatly exacerbated the pain in platinum mining last year.

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