The headline-grabbing numbers at President Cyril Ramaphosa’s investment conference all looked spectacular and gave his presidency a ringing endorsement. But some of the investment numbers are not new, while others are a factor of doing business. Anglo American’s $6bn commitment, for example,  includes a $2bn investment in going underground at its depleted Venetia opencast mine in Limpopo. This is a project that started in 2013. What the rest will be is not clear, but Anglo says it will be invested in a fairly even spread over the next five years and will go towards sustaining capital — which is the money invested to keep the mines running and is hardly a new investment — and life extension capital, which is money needed to prolong the duration of mining by exploration and converting resources to reserves, a necessary part of mining. To call this a new investment is not entirely accurate, but to be fair Anglo CEO Mark Cutifani was towards the end of 2017 warning that if there was no ...

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