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Anglo halves business units, shelves divi, cuts 3 850 plat jobs

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The share price of Anglo American fell by more than 9 percent on Tuesday after the diversified major set out radical portfolio restructuring, further material cost savings, more capital expenditure (capex) reductions, a reduction of the total number of employees to 50 000 and a retention of 20 to 25 assets from the current 50.

Anglo American Platinum (Amplats) shares fell by a similar percentage after the company said it was postponing investment in all growth and replacement projects and outlined its release of 3 850 employees.

Kumba Iron Ore said it was targeting unit costs of $30/t and a breakeven price of $40/t for 2016 to cope with badly deteriorating conditions in the global iron-ore market. Anglo American itself outlined that the severity of commodity price deterioration required bolder action, which would see 60 percent of its assets being sold or stalled.

“Any asset that’s cash negative will not remain in operation,” Anglo American CEO Mark Cutifani said in a media conference call from London, in which Creamer Media’s Mining Weekly Online participated. The dividend was being suspended and the progressive dividend concept abandoned completely as being inappropriate for cyclical companies.

The current six business units would be halved to three – De Beers for diamonds, industrial metals for base metals and platinum, and bulk commodities for coal and iron-ore. The commodities outlook for bulk was seen as being the worst of the three units with the outlook for diamonds the best and the outlook for industrial metals in the middle ground.

But together with the additional material capital, cost saving and productivity measures, the company was setting out an accelerated and more aggressive strategic restructuring of the portfolio to focus on assets that were best placed to deliver free cash flow through the cycle and that constituted the core long-term value proposition of Anglo American.

The company had categorised the assets to be retained as ‘priority one’ assets. In response to Mining Weekly Online’s request for a country outline of the company’s ‘priority one’ assets, only the Venetia diamond project in South Africa’s Limpopo province was divulged as being a ‘priority one’ mine, where there was no risk of the current R20-billion Venetia underground project being curtained.

The detail of the future portfolio would be set out in February, with the aim of delivering a resilient Anglo American and a step change in the company’s transformation.

“This will be a totally different looking company,” Cutifani told journalists, adding that it would be placed in a more competitive position to deliver sustainable shareholder returns.

Anglo American’s London office would co-locate with that of De Beers in 2017. In a drive towards operational discipline, cost and productivity improvements of $3.7-billion were being targeted from 2013 to 2017, of which $1.6-billion would be delivered by end 2015, $1.1-billion in 2016, and $1-billion in 2017.

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OLOPENG HEAPS PRAISE ON BSE FINANCE CHALLENGE

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Minister Thapelo Olopeng

Botswana Stock Exchange’s annual finance and investment competition for secondary school students has been applauded by the Minister of Tertiary Education, Research, Science and Technology, Thapelo Olopeng.

The initiative, a capital market awareness tool that has been running for the past seven years, is increasing financial literacy and a culture of investment among young people. The initiative will see the country raise future billionaires through the stock markets. “It is a breath of fresh air to have tertiary students who are financially literate, who can manage their finances,” said the minister.

He urged students to invest even the smallest allowances they earn and have a hassle-free life after university. “Investing on the stock exchange is not only preserved for the rich, but for anyone with a bank account,” said Olopeng.

The minister said the secondary schools finance and investment competition is participation of the private sector in bridging the knowledge divide.Olopeng said the private sector participation augments his ministry’s efforts of providing and building knowledge and innovation through the development and implementation of the policy on tertiary education, research, science and technology to transform the economy from a resource based to a knowledge based.

“In this connection, we will continue to empower our students in order for them to lead better and successful lives which can propel them into the innovation ecosystem,” said Olopeng. BSE Chief Executive Officer, Thapelo Tsheole said the Senior Secondary Schools Finance and Investment Competition, first established in 2013 aims to sensitise and educate the student community about capital markets, with the strategic aim to increase financial literacy and promote a culture of investing at a young age.

The competition is open to all senior secondary schools across the country, including private and public senior secondary schools.

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WE ARE NOT USING DIAMONDS TO KILL ELEPHANTS, THAT’S HOGWASH! – BOTSWANA MINISTER

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Orapa Mine, part of Debswana

Botswana is not using diamonds to kill elephants as alleged by some conservationists after the southern African country announced plans to lift a ban on elephant hunting to address growing conflict between humans and wildlife, a government official has said.

Minister of mineral resources, Green technology and energy security Eric Molale told a mining conference in Gaborone on Monday that the activists were tarnishing the image of Botswana. “That’s hogwash because we as Botswana are [good] conservationists and it is us who worked hard to make sure these elephants [are] brought to the numbers that we do have now,” he said.

“When conflicts arise, it is through consultation, [that we] find out how we can best manage our resources. The people have spoken and we are going to be managing the elephants in the best way that we can.

“We are not culling, we have re-introduced the trophy hunting and if you take 400 elephants per annum for trophy hunting against the 3-5% annual growth rate of the elephant herd that we have…[we are] just barely scratching on the surface.”

Botswana has about 130 000 elephants, the world’s largest population.Molale said Botswana will remain focused on things that are beneficial to the country and will not be distracted by issues spread by people that are not even privy to how things are done in the country.

“We have, however, invited them to come and learn more about what we are doing so they can better understand those important aspects of flora and fauna…”The conflict between humans and elephants had gone up since the ban was introduced in 2014.

Tourism is the second source of foreign income in Botswana after diamonds and conservationists fear that the former will be affected is the government cull elephant.
[Rough and Polished]

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