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SA’s major coal miners are grappling with a number of uncertainties about empowerment obligations that could hinder their growth and heighten operational risks, says Mike Fraser, South32 president and COO of the African region.  Eskom has been demanding 51% black ownership from its coal suppliers for a number of years, but the major coal companies have long-term contracts that are not affected by these demands. Anglo American was unable to find a way around this requirement for its New Largo mine and supply contract that it has now put up for sale with its other Eskom-contracted mines. Uncertainties remain on the short-term contracts Eskom will agree with the big producers that supply up to 80% of its coal and how its 51% black ownership demand meshes with the Mining Charter’s 26% black ownership hurdle to qualify for a mining right. "There’s a misalignment between Eskom’s policy and the charter requirements. Somehow we’ve got to break through that … we’ve got to say whether that po...

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