South African miners to deliver tax windfall after metals rally

Amplats’ Mogalakwena platinum mine, South Africa. (Photo courtesy of Anglo American Platinum)

South Africa’s platinum and iron ore producers will generate additional tax revenues for the nation’s cash-strapped government as a rally in metal prices buoys their earnings, according to Morgan Stanley.

Royalty payments are estimated to climb 70% this year for the listed mining companies covered by the bank, while tax payments could increase by as much as 80%, Morgan Stanley analysts including Christopher Nicholson said in a note. Miners such as Anglo American Platinum Ltd. and Kumba Iron Ore Ltd. are reaping windfall profits from higher palladium, rhodium and iron ore prices, while a weaker rand lowers their costs.

“Improved profitability should lead to a materially higher tax and royalty take from South African mines in 2019,” the Morgan Stanley analysts said. “A much needed boost for the South African fiscus.”

South Africa’s government is under pressure as it seeks to bail out the debt-laden state power utility Eskom Holdings SOC Ltd. That will probably widen a fiscal shortfall, which is already forecast to be the worst in 10 years.

South Africa’s mining industry’s tax payments rose 16% to 22 billion rand ($1.5 billion) in 2018, while royalty payments surged 31% to 7.6 billion rand, according to Minerals Council South Africa.

(By Felix Njini)

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