Talk empowerment and mining, and the name that springs to mind is Patrice Motsepe and his African Rainbow Minerals, now firmly in control of Harmony. But the two quality gold mining portfolios in SA belong to Gold Fields and AngloGold Ashanti.
It was politician-turned-tycoon Tokyo Sexwale who was the first to do a direct deal with one of the two industry leaders, with Mvela's R4,1bn acquisition of a 15% beneficial interest in Gold Fields' SA assets. After a seven-year lock-up period, Mvela will be able to convert its interest into shares in Gold Fields itself, giving it an international exposure. Mvela will also get direct access to its share of the cash flow of the SA properties.
Mvela is, ironically, starting to look like an old-fashioned SA mining house. It also has a stake in Northam Platinum (see below), which it is in the process of raising to an effective 34%, as well as a 20,7% stake in diamond miner Trans Hex. Among its other interests, it is in a joint venture with De Beers to look for diamonds , and another with Southern Era Resources for platinum . And jointly with Trans Hex, it has entered into an agreement with Etruscan Diamonds.
Projects like these make Mvela more than just a passive investor cashing in on its empowerment credentials. It also has a strong management team. The well-regarded former CE Mark Willcox remains on board as a nonexecutive director, new CEO Nthobi Angel has an impressive record , and mining veteran Bernard van Rooyen, who spent most of his career with the old Gold Fields SA group and has been a director of Northam , recently joined Mvela as an executive director.
Sexwale's ambitions extend beyond mining. His top company, Mvelaphanda Holdings (Pty), is leading a consortium to meet Absa's empowerment needs. At some point he may wish to rationalise his interests, and what better vehicle could there be than Mvela Resources, already a listed entity with a multibillion-rand market cap? Even without that possibility, Mvela Resources remains one of SA's most exciting companies.