Vedanta founder Anil Agarwal. Picture: SUPPLIED
Vedanta founder Anil Agarwal. Picture: SUPPLIED

Anil Agarwal, the founder of resources company Vedanta and also the biggest shareholder in Anglo American, says investing in SA and the continent “makes the most business sense”.

Agarwal was speaking at the official opening of Vedanta’s Gamsberg zinc mine in the Northern Cape on Thursday. The company has invested $400m in the operation and plans to spend a further $1bn as it contemplates higher output and a refinery-smelter complex. Vedanta bought the resource from Anglo in 2011.

The comments show confidence in an economy in which investment slumped during years of legislative and policy uncertainty under the previous administration. Both President Cyril Ramaphosa and mineral resources minister Gwede Mantashe attended the Gamsberg opening.

“I look at the business angle, I don’t look at the sentiment angle,” Agarwal said, adding that Vedanta was able to easily obtain 17 licences in six months in the country.

While Anglo exited some higher-cost operations in SA following a collapse in commodity prices in 2015, it is now doubling down on its cash-generating assets in SA. It is spending $2bn developing underground deposits at Venetia, the biggest investment in a South African diamond mine in decades.

Another $4bn will be invested in iron ore, manganese and coal over the next five years.

Bloomberg