Glencore says it worked with SA on Optimum sale

Johannesburg - Glencore said it worked with “stakeholders” including the government to facilitate the sale of its Optimum coal mine after the Sunday Times reported that the South Africa’s mines minister met Glencore’s chief executive officer ahead of the mine’s sale to a group owned by friends of President Jacob Zuma.

Glencore placed the mine in business rescue, which means that it is handed over to curators or business rescue practitioners, after it failed to convince power company Eskom Holdings to loosen the terms of an agreement that Glencore said made Optimum unprofitable.

The mine was sold by the business rescue practitioners to Tegeta, a company controlled by the Gupta family, who are in business with one of Zuma’s sons.

“Glencore has been working with the BRP’s of Optimum Coal and all other stakeholders including government” the company said in an emailed response to questions on Sunday. “Glencore is pleased with the terms of the transaction concluded by the BRPs with Tegeta.”

The Sunday Times reported that Mines Minister Mosebenzi Zwane late last year met with Glencore CEO Ivan Glasenberg at the Dolder Grand Hotel in Zurich to facilitate the sale of the mine. A delegation representing the Guptas left Zurich on December 2, the same day Zwane departed.

Glencore didn’t answer a question about whether Glasenberg had met Zwane. The sale of Optimum also included the Koornfontein mine.

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