Glencore “pleased” with mine sale to Gupta – no comment on Mining Minister

By Andre Janse van Vuuren

(Bloomberg) — Glencore Plc said it worked with “stakeholders” including the government to facilitate the sale of its Optimum coal mine after Johannesburg’s 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.

Swiss commodities trader Glencore's logo is seen in front of its headquarters in Baar, near Zurich, in this February 6, 2012 file photo. Shares in mining and trading company Glencore fell almost 30 percent and closed at a record low on Monday over concerns it is not doing enough to cut its debt to withstand a prolonged fall in global metals prices. About 3.5 billion pounds ($5.33 billion) in market value was wiped off the Swiss-based firm, whose $10 billion share offering in 2011 turned its managers into billionaire shareholders but left it saddled with debt - a growing problem as commodity prices fell. REUTERS/Romina Amato/Files TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Swiss commodities trader Glencore’s logo is seen in front of its headquarters in Baar, near Zurich, in this February 6, 2012 file photo. Shares in mining and trading company Glencore fell almost 30 percent and closed at a record low on Monday over concerns it is not doing enough to cut its debt to withstand a prolonged fall in global metals prices. About 3.5 billion pounds ($5.33 billion) in market value was wiped off the Swiss-based firm, whose $10 billion share offering in 2011 turned its managers into billionaire shareholders but left it saddled with debt – a growing problem as commodity prices fell. REUTERS/Romina Amato/Files

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 SOC Ltd. 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 e-mailed 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 Mosebenzi Zwane, South Africa’s mines minister, 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 Dec. 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.