Anglo American Plc will get out of thermal-coal mining in the next few years, following larger rivals in exiting the dirtiest fuel as investors ratchet up pressure over climate issues.
“We are in a transition and we will end up without material thermal coal,” Anglo Chief Executive Officer Mark Cutifani said in an interview Monday in Cape Town. “You’re not talking five years; it’ll be earlier than that.”
Anglo has spent decades positioning itself as an environmental and social champion, from treatment plans for employees with HIV or tuberculosis, to developing new ways to mine with less water. Yet it risks getting left behind on thermal coal, after Rio Tinto Group sold its last coal mine in 2018 and BHP Group looks at options to exit the business.
That would leave Anglo and Glencore Plc as the only two large Western mining companies with thermal coal assets.
“We would like to put more clarity around the transition as it goes forward,” Cutifani said. “If it’s done in my tenure, I’ve given my successor a running start.”
Most of Anglo’s thermal coal assets are in South Africa and the transition will need to be handled carefully because of the impact it may have on government relations and communities in the country.
[Thomas Biesheuvel, Felix Njini]