An Eskom policy to procure coal only from majority black-owned coal suppliers — which influenced major mining houses such as Anglo American and South32 to divest from the local sector —  was never official policy at all. Eskom nonexecutive director Nelisiwe Magubane said the new board, installed in February, had looked through the Eskom policies but found no evidence of a supposed requirement that coal suppliers must be 50%-plus black-owned. “It wasn’t in any of the policies,” she told delegates at the Joburg Indaba last week. Rather it appeared to be “an aspiration”. Under former Eskom CEO Brian Molefe, Eskom categorically stated its coal procurement policy required all the mines that supply coal to its power stations to have a black ownership target of more than 50% throughout the life of the mine — significantly more than even the 30% empowerment shareholding required by the new Mining Charter. “It created a fear in the market that nobody without 50% black ownership could supply ...

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