Anglo CEO says South Africa licence threats ‘out of order’

Mark Cutifani

Despite threats from government officials to review mining licences, Anglo American Platinum will continue with restructuring its mining operations in South Africa, reports Reuters.

Incoming chief executive officer Mark Cutifani said at an African mining conference this week, “Threats to licences are out of order … we shouldn’t be threatening licenses when a company is looking at preserving its life.”

The company plans to cut 14,000 jobs as it closes two mines and sells a third to shore up profit in the face of declining demand, rising costs and unproductive labour.

Amplats — the world’s top producer of platinum — had its first annual loss in 2012 and says it is in an unsustainable position, as is the industry as a whole.

South Africa’s President Jacob Zuma called mine closures “blackmail” and the government believes the mining operations change justified a review of the licences.

Outgoing Anglo CEO Cynthia Carroll said the company will carry on with its plans even though government and unions object.