By Mandisa Nduli, Editor
State-owned African Exploration Mining and Finance Corporation (AEMFC) has announced that it will submit a bid for the Gupta-linked Optimum Coal assets, which are currently under business rescue.
The mining company said on Thursday that the bid would be fundamental in South Africa’s energy security and is strongly supportive of ensuring that these assets are awarded in a transparent manner.
Optimum Coal was previously operated by Tegeta Exploration and Resources, and consists of the Optimum Coal Mine, Koorn-fontein Mines, which produced an estimated 10 million tons of coal per year – half of which was supplied to power utility company, Eskom.
The success of the bid would result in the immediate nationalization of the Optimum Coal mine.
“We believe there exists, through this consortium and within our bid for Optimum Coal and associated assets, a significant potential to demonstrate the value inherent in a workable and sustainable South African Public Private Partnership,” said Chief Executive of AEMFC, Sizwe Madondo.
Madondo noted that the AEMFC has the needed experience to create meaningful and tangible growth to Optimim Coal, adding that “through a team of reputable and experienced sector experts who invest in rigorous due diligence processes together, we can build South Africa’s image; whilst instilling confidence within the local and investor community that South Africa is open for business on commercially sound terms that benefit all South Africans.”
The AEMFC owns the controversial Vlakfontein coal mine, which, under south Africa’s previous administration was to be the vehicle for a state-owned mining champion, however, critics have stated that it was a demonstration of how the government wanted to be both regulator and player in the mining industry.