Sunday, December 17, 2017
Mike Teke

Mike Teke

Chamber of Mines of South Africa

BEING the president of a bureaucracy such as the Chamber of Mines, which is effectively controlled by its mining company members, cannot be easy. In fact, we wouldn’t be surprised if Teke was looking forward to the end of his second term this year. Certainly, his time running the Chamber has been eventful. A key feature is the acceptance that its policy of “no public confrontations” in favour of “negotiations behind closed doors” with the ANC government has failed. Teke has been one of a number of top executives who have publicly spelled out the problems threatening the future of the South African mining industry which result directly from the government’s punitive and contradictory policies. But he found himself in a particularly interesting position during 2016 when all hell broke loose over the machinations surrounding the Gupta brothers, Eskom, and the fate of the Optimum Coal Mines. Teke must have had particular insight into what was going on because he was the founding CEO at Optimum, and he is the chairman of the Richards Bay Coal Terminal (RBCT), of which Optimum is a member. Despite this, he professed to know nothing when approached about the rumours – subsequently proven correct – which surfaced that the Guptas were selling Optimum’s RBCT’s export quota to international trading firm Vitol.


He holds a BA (Hons) and an MBA from Unisa and served in various human resources positions at Unilever, Bayer, BHP Billiton and Impala Platinum. In 2008, he played a key role in the BEE deal which saw BHP Billiton’s Optimum Colliery split off and listed separately on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange with Teke as the founding CEO. He was appointed vice-president of the Chamber of Mines in 2011 and elected Chamber president in 2013.

“It is not surprising that investor confidence in waning.”