Ben Magara: CEO, AngloCoal South Africa

AngloCoal chose the Mining Indaba to announce its broad-based black economic empowerment deal.

MONEYWEB: Indaba time! It’s the big news for the mining nexus of the world at the moment and Ben Magara, who’s the chief executive of AngloCoal South Africa chose the Indaba to make a big announcement about AngloCoal South Africa. You’ve brought on broad-based black economic empowerment, Ben. People forget that coal is almost up there with platinum and gold – very close between the three of them for the biggest export earner in South Africa. Anglo being the biggest player in the coal market in South Africa, I suppose you would have been courted very aggressively by potential partners.     

BEN MAGARA: Thank you very much, Alec, and thank you for having me on your show. It’s really been a great partnership. We’ve taken quite a robust process to identify these partners. They do bring strategic partnerships in managing communities and enterprise development. They’ve a great track record in transformation, and we really believe they will add lots of value to us, as we do to them in terms of skills transfer. So we’re really excited about the partnership.     

MONEYWEB: Now, if I understand correctly, 27% of AngloCoal South Africa will be held in future by the broad-based black economic empowerment, is that right?

BEN MAGARA: No, Alec, I think let me just put that quite clear. We have a going concern, a current operation, a current mine, Kriel Colliery, producing 10.5m tons a year right now. That asset, plus four big projects, which have got in total 4.1bn tons of coal resources, have been put together in this suite of assets that are going to be sold into the Anglo Inyosi joint venture deal. Those are the assets that form part of this deal.     

MONEYWEB: What size or what percentage of AngloCoal South Africa is then being put into this suite of assets?

BEN MAGARA: AngloCoal South Africa right now produces between 56, 57m tons a year, so we have put in the 10.5m tons for current production, but we’ve put all our future projects in Mpumalanga and Gauteng into this deal, so really, the future is absolutely exciting. And with the kind of economic growth going right now, it is the right thing to do locally and globally. We also have a sizeable, as you know, 3.5m tons for export.    

MONEYWEB: All right, Ben, but if you didn’t put your new projects into this deal, you wouldn’t have new projects, because government just wouldn’t give you the licences? 

BEN MAGARA: I think we view transformation as an imperative and hence it is something that not only the government should be seen to be the driver for it, so we’re quite excited that in this era we can grow our opportunities. We have the opportunity to do so and we can harness together with our partners.  

MONEYWEB: Why are you going for so many ladies? Are you a ladies man?

BEN MAGARA: [Laughter.] Thank you very much for that and…

MONEYWEB: No, I see you’ve got a lot of ladies on the empowerment grouping, you brought in Lithemba and WDBIH, Sonja Sebotsa …

BEN MAGARA: Absolutely, you’re very right. We took a very clear view, Alec, that says to create true representation of the demographics of this country we need the 50% or more to be women. And we ensured exactly that in this particular deal. So, women equity and women leadership – we have found strong women to help us lead, and they will own an equity in excess of 50% in this deal, which is really true representation.

MONEYWEB: Ben Magara is the chief executive, AngloCoal.


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