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South32, the diversified miner spun out of BHP two-and-a-half years ago, will follow Anglo American’s lead and exit its energy coal business in SA. It said on Monday it would invest R4.3bn to extend the life of Klipspruit colliery by 20 years. From April, its energy coal business will be separately managed and South32 will seek new owners, including employees, communities and black business, with a possible listing on the JSE. South32 and Anglo’s decisions follow Eskom’s insistence that its suppliers be 51% black-owned, coupled with political and regulatory uncertainty in SA and a negative long-term outlook for energy coal amid concerns about climate change. South32 claims more than 40% black ownership of its South African coal business through credits earned on past transactions agreed with the Department of Mineral Resources. But historical credits may not be recognised if the courts make an adverse ruling on the question of once empowered, always empowered. A judgment on this iss...

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