Mining houses still fail to meet BEE targets

2010-04-24 08:27

A NEW report by a black economic empowerment (BEE) consulting firm

has found that South African mining companies are dragging their feet in

transferring a slice of the industry’s wealth to black investors.

The study, compiled by KIO Advisory Services, which was founded by

former financial journalist Duma Gqubule, has established that the gross value

of black shareholding in the JSE-listed top 25 mining companies was equivalent

to 5.27% or R98 billion of their market capitalisation.

The combined market capitalisation of the top 25 mining houses had

reached R1.8 trillion at the end of March this year.

Within the top 25 mining companies, the study found that a lion’s

share of the black wealth was concentrated in three JSE-listed companies, coal

miner Exxaro, Patrice Motsepe’s diversified mining and minerals company ARM, and

platinum miner Impala. The black ownership of these firms accounted for 69% or

R66.8 billion of total black mining ownership on the JSE.

The KIO study of black ownership in the JSE’s mining sector was

commissioned by the South African Mining Development Association (Samda) and

appears to confirm the findings of a government-sponsored draft review which

revealed that the industry had woefully failed to meet its BEE ownership

targets. Samda is a mouthpiece for junior miners and black-owned mining firms.

The report is also likely to embolden Mines Minister Susan

Shabangu, who has threatened tougher enforcement of BEE in the sector if

progress continued to be slow. In her budget vote speech in Parliament this

week, Shabangu highlighted fronting and complex funding models for BEE mining

deals as some of the problems holding back black advancement.

“These models are typically designed to benefit principal partners,

financiers, legal advisers and other management firms to the disadvantage of the

intended beneficiaries, who remain not only indebted but also in the absolute

minority,” she said.

“This has also created an environment for fronting, at which

targeted beneficiaries are not actively involved in mining project development,

but more focused on making quick money,” said Shabangu, adding that fronting was

a disgrace and “a scourge against the realisation of ­effective

transformation.”

Six years ago, mining companies signed a BEE charter in which they

committed themselves to putting 15% of their equity stakes in black hands by the

end of last year and 26% by 2014.

That top JSE-listed miners have only transferred 5.27% of their

wealth is a clear indication that the 26% target will not be met in the next

four years . The five-year draft assessment by the department of mineral

resources (DMR), which included listed and unlisted firms, found that blacks

owned 9% of the mining sector.

Gqubule said he could confidently assert that very few of the

mining companies were close to meeting the 26% net value target set by the

DMR.

“This is the most comprehensive review of black ownership in the

sector. It has reviewed more than 90% of BEE transactions by value in the mining

sector over the past decade,” he said.

Lobby group the Black Management Forum (BMF) expressed unhappiness

with the slow pace of transformation in the mining sector.

“The BMF and KIO Advisory Services will be approaching key industry

players in the mining sector, especially those on the JSE, policymakers in

government and business as well as labour to try and get to the bottom of the

difficulties in meeting the transformation targets set for the mining sector,”

said BMF managing director Gaba Tabane.

 – Additional reporting by Allan Seccombe



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