Mike Teke
Rainmakers & Potstirrers

Mike Teke

CEO: Seriti Resources


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‘You can sell your coal assets, dilute your assets ... or do what Seriti is doing – remain a coal miner, but diversify’

MIKE Teke’s career has been typified by opportunistic dealmaking in the coal sector. But the industry’s horizons are shrinking: while fossil fuels still have a pathway in South Africa’s developing economy, the sector is being slowly starved of capital. In response Teke has developed a dual strategy of harvesting Seriti’s Eskom and export coal mines while diversifying into green energy assets and halving Seriti’s carbon footprint into the bargain. The green energy push is underpinned by Seriti’s BEE credentials.

The firm is 91% black-owned, which counts for a lot in South Africa. It is also relatively transparent for an unlisted entity, which could help unlock investment doors. Seriti’s current project pipeline includes construction of South Africa’s largest wind farm in the coal province of Mpumalanga. This follows the signing of a power purchase agreement for 155MW of power to be generated by Seriti Green and wheeled through the national grid to Seriti Resources’ coal-mining operations, lending a green hue to its coal production. Power supply from the project is expected to come online in 2025. Teke’s approach could be summed up as “diversify or die”.

Seriti has a significant fixed-contract business with Eskom, South Africa’s state-owned power utility, and like the coal it heavily relies on, it also seems to be going the way of the dodo. With massive debt and liquidity problems and a business model that frankly sucks Eskom is hardly a sustainable customer in the long run..


Teke has an unusual background for a miner: he’s a trained school teacher and a former human resources practitioner. That may explain his professional style: mild-mannered, an excellent delegator, but don’t cross him. From classroom to the boardroom, Teke has held posts at Impala Platinum and Billiton before becoming one of the founding shareholders and CEO of Optimum Coal, which was subsequently sold to Glencore. A former president of the Chamber of Mines, he knows many of his peers well and has been a vocal proponent of South Africa’s mining industry.

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