Mines debate hurts sector, says Cutifani

[miningmx.com] — ANGLOGOLD Ashanti chief executive officer Mark Cutifani has said talk of mine nationalisation in South Africa is hurting investment in the sector, local Business Day newspaper reported on Monday.

His comments contrast those of Minerals Resources Minister Susan Shabangu last week that there is no evidence the nationalisation debate is harming investment.

“I will ask those that keep using the word (nationalisation) to stop using the world. It’s the wrong word. That is what’s scaring the world,” Cutifani is quoted as saying.

“The real discussion is what is the role of the government in the development of industry in the new South Africa. The economic and social discussions that accompany that debate are raging all over the world. We are no different.”

The African National Congress government has been at pains to reassure investors that it would not nationalise mines after calls by its youth wing that such a policy would improve the lives of the poor.

Economists have said nationalisation could bankrupt Africa’s largest economy, with the bill for taking over all mining firms equal to about two-thirds of gross domestic product or twice the annual national budget.