Minister, Eskom 'muscled Glencore to sell to Guptas'

04 February 2016 - 02:45 By Bloomberg

The DA said the country's mineral resources minister and Eskom "forced" Glencore to sell its Optimum coal mine to a firm controlled by the Gupta family, friends of President Jacob Zuma.Mineral Resources Minister Mosebenzi Zwane met Glencore officials in Switzerland ahead of the sale of Optimum to the Guptas' Tegeta Exploration & Resources in December, the ministry said on Monday.The Sunday Times reported that a delegation representing the Gupta family was there at the same time.Optimum was placed in business rescue proceedings, a form of bankruptcy, in August after Glencore said its contract to supply coal to Eskom was unviable, leading to the operation's sale to Tegeta for R2.15-billion.Eskom had refused to renegotiate the contract and said it would hold Tegeta to the same arrangement. It also fined Optimum R2-billion over the quality of the coal it was supplying."The evidence suggests that Zwane and Eskom contrived to make Optimum unviable for Glencore to operate," DA mineral resources spokesman James Lorimer said."Once Glencore was forced to sell the mine to the Guptas, it was then arranged that the path for Tegeta would be eased to get supply contracts with Eskom."Zwane participated in the sale in the interest of saving jobs at Optimum, his ministry said.Eskom didn't participate in the sale and was only interested in the continuation of its contract at the same price, volume and quality, spokesman Khulu Phasiwe said yesterday.Glencore also said it engaged with the government over the sale of Optimum and didn't answer a question over whether its CEO Ivan Glasenberg met Zwane...

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