Way back in 1997, Anglo American's gold and uranium division sold some of its loss-making shafts to Patrice Motsepe, who was then a young lawyer providing contract mining services to the gold giant.

There is a certain symmetry, therefore, to the deal announced this week in which AngloGold Ashanti is to sell the last of its South African gold mining assets to Harmony, making Harmony SA's pre-eminent gold producer.

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