South Africa’s beleaguered state power utility and regulatory uncertainty are the biggest risks for investors wanting to put their money in the country, according to Anglo American Plc.
The challenges presented by Eskom Holdings SOC Ltd. “probably represents our single most-important risk we deal with,” Anglo Chief Executive Officer Mark Cutifani, told delegates at an investment conference in Johannesburg.
The government also needs to improve the regulatory environment to get investors back into the mining sector and end uncertainty that has weighed against plans to build new mines in the country, he said.
“We still have a lot more to do,” Cutifani said. “I can’t say the regulatory environment is where we want it to be.”
South Africa is the world’s largest supplier of platinum-group metals and Anglo American Platinum Ltd. is exploring ways to boost output at its key Mogalakwena mine as prices for platinum metals rally. Kumba Iron Ore Ltd, another Anglo unit, is also weighing options to extend the life of its giant Sishen iron-ore mine by another 20 years from the current life of 13.
Anglo, founded in Johannesburg more than a century ago, is also spending $2 billion to build an underground operation at its Venetia diamond mine in Limpopo province. The plans come as President Cyril Ramaphosa, a former mine union leader and one-time platinum company investor, battles to attract investors in the sector and the country, amid sluggish economic growth and burgeoning debt.