AngloGold Ashanti
CEO Mark Cutifani
Johannesburg, South Africa — 12 November 2012 – Mark Cutifani, who has been CEO of AngloGold Ashanti Limited since 2007, says he will not be replacing Cynthia Carroll as CEO of mining giant Anglo American.

Miningmx reports that Cutifani had earlier responded with a “no comment” in the media call. “Have you checked your diary?” he said in response to the intrepid question. “This is an AngloGold conference,” he said to background laughter.

Cutifani described 2013 as a “pivotal” year, partly because he’s hoping to link productivity agreements to annual wage negotiations that will begin around June. Given the fact Cutifani is the recently appointed president of the Chamber of Mines, one can expect he will also be influential in popularising the idea among other member companies as well.

It makes for a more intense round of wage negotiations in which the voice of labour will also be more nuanced. In a sense, the past dominance of the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) made for a familiar if not a cosy relationship between employer and employee. Although the NUM has driven a hard bargain for its members in the past, the protagonists resemble a warring family: at loggerheads, but still family.

The introduction of the Associated Mineworkers & Construction Union (AMCU), an entity about which the NUM still seems to be in denial, changes that condition. Cutifani and his counterpart at Harmony Gold, Graham Briggs, are disposed towards the development. After all, change is opportunity.

If Cutifani gets it right, a modest above-inflation wage increase will be negotiated in return for a 15% productivity improvement. AngloGold’s aim is not to make workers work longer, but to create a structure for around-the-clock mining that would suit the eventual introduction of the mine automation that AngloGold is currently trialling at Tau Tona, a mine west of Johannesburg.

Automation is sometimes confused with mechanisation, a much-derided concept in South African mining because it has failed so often. The difference of automation, however, is that it involves no direct physical or mental engagement with the technology at all.

Shorter term, Cutifani wants to get miners home semi-annually or quarterly, instead of annually. One of the few positives to come out of the Marikana tragedy is a review of the migrant system.

Source: Miningmx. For more information, click here.