Shares in Anglo American have fallen sharply after South Africa announced changes to its mining regulations.
They dropped 57p, or more than 5 per cent, to £10 after South Africa’s mineral resources minister Mosebenzi Zwane said miners have to raise their black-owned stakes to 30 per cent from 26 per cent under a revised version of its mining charter.
The news is likely to draw a furious response from the mining industry, which has complained bitterly about the lack a consultation as the new charter was drawn up.
The Chamber of Mines, which represents the country’s biggest miners including Anglo American and Sibanye Gold, has already said it will consider legal action.
But it is not completely clear whether the government is keeping the “once empowered, always empowered” view of black ownership. Mr Zwane has been pushing for local assets to 30 per cent black owned, irrespective of past deals to increase ownership.
“The mining sector does not exist in a vacuum,” Mr Zwane said as he unveiled the charter on Thursday. South African miners needed “strong legislative regimes” to thrive, he added.
The charter is being released shortly after Africa’s most industrialised economy entered its first recession since 2009. Investor confidence has also been shaken by infighting within the ANC over the scandal-hit presidency of Jacob Zuma.
President Zuma has called for “radical economic transformation” to more fairly share the benefits of South Africa’s economy among the black majority.
Mr Zwane, a close ally of the president, said the government was “not blind” to the downturn but added that “there’s a need to produce a new era of industrialisation driven by young economic champions,” referring to the charter as a “revolutionary tool”.
Miners who rely on international supply chains to operate in South Africa may be hard hit by rules that require companies to procure 80 per cent of services and 70 per cent of goods from black-owned local suppliers.
In addition, the holder of a South African mining right will be forced to pay 1 per cent of its annual turnover to communities.
Get alerts on Anglo American PLC when a new story is published