11 Jun 2021
Under pressure from investors and environmentalists, Anglo American Plc exited its South African coal business this week, but the spinoff could have an unforeseen outcome: higher output of the most polluting fuel.
Anglo’s Chief Executive Officer Mark Cutifani said it was a “responsible transition” from thermal coal, but July Ndlovu, the head of spinoff Thungela Resources Ltd., has a different perspective. Ndlovu wants South Africa’s biggest coal exporter, which began trading in Johannesburg and London on Monday, to develop new resources and buy rivals.
“I didn’t take up this role to close these mines, to close this business,” Ndlovu said in a June 8 interview at Thungela’s new offices in Johannesburg’s Rosebank business district. “I took this role to do what is right for the people of this country.”
The CEO’s bullishness about an industry where prices are currently surging highlights the potentially unintended consequences of the world’s biggest mining companies stepping away from thermal coal. While Anglo’s exit burnishes its appeal to institutional investors with ambitious climate goals to meet, expansion at Thungela’s could mean the spinoff generates more greenhouse gases than had the mines been gradually run down by Anglo.
Source : https://financialpost.com/pmn/business-pmn