One of BHP Billiton’s
many coal operations
around the world
Melbourne, Australia — MININGREVIEW.COM — 14 December 2001 – BHP Billiton “’ the world’s biggest mining company “’ says it will provide funding to assist a group of black investors led by Pembani Group (Pty) Limited to buy a stake in its South African energy coal unit.

Bloomberg News reports that the company declined to comment on the value of the transaction, which will see 8% of shares in BHP Billiton Energy Coal South Africa “’ known as Becsa “’ transferred to the black-owned group. Pembani “’ formerly known as Worldwide African Investment Holdings (Pty) Limited “’ is chaired by Phuthuma Nhleko “’ a former chief of MTN Group Limited, Africa’s biggest mobile-network company, and a current director of BP plc.

The company will provide a loan “broadly on commercial terms” to Pembani to finance the purchase, BP spokeswoman Kesagee Nayager said in an e-mailed response to questions. “It is expected that Pembani will service their loan commitment from the normal dividends paid by Becsa to its shareholders.”

Becsa, the country’s second-biggest exporter of thermal coal, is “now in a position of more than meeting the transformation requirements” of South African law, and all its mining licenses have been converted to meet legal needs, it said in an e-mailed statement today.
BHP produced about 34Mt of thermal coal in South Africa in the fiscal year to 30 June, of which about 13Mt were exported, Nayager said.

The coal-mining company also agreed to sell an additional deposit, with an estimated resource of 300Mt, to closely held Kuyasa Mining Limited to extend the life of its Delmas Colliery in the Mpumalanga province in the northeast of the country. BHP sold the operation to Kuyasa in 2002. “Becsa is not in a position to comment on the valuation of the deal,” Nayager said.

Becsa in January said it will sell some of its undeveloped coal assets to focus on its existing operations.