Public Enterprises Minister Lynne Brown last year refused a request by Exxaro for a R1.8bn capital investment that would have allowed its cost-plus Matla mine to sink a new shaft and maintain its coal production at the levels required by its coal supply agreement with Eskom. Brown’s refusal to approve the capital expenditure — despite the fact that the Eskom board had approved it — meant Matla was unable to meet its coal supply obligations to Eskom. This was part of the scenario painted by Exxaro Resources CEO Mxolisi Mgojo in Parliament on Wednesday of how Eskom "unlawfully pushed Exxaro out of the coal supply space and contracted with third party/parties at a considerably higher cost to the fiscus". These third parties included the Gupta-owned Optimum coal mine, a subsidiary of the family-owned Tegeta Exploration & Resources. Mgojo told MPs Brown had said she would grant her approval to Exxaro’s request only if Eskom could demonstrate how this investment would support the governme...

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