Sunday, 24 November 2013 15:31

Mark Cutifani, Chief Executive, Anglo American


Anglo American's Chief Executive Mark Cutifani has called for legislative clarity across the BRICS countries. In an interview with Fernando Faria, founder of innovaBRICS, Mr Cutifani compared the countries from the point of being business friendly and encouraged people to be brave enough to try different approaches.

FF: Innovation is one of AA values. How does a mining company foster innovation?

Cutifani: I think it is valuable to concentrate on promoting innovation, promoting the concept that "it is okay to fail". What we do now is encourage people to think differently and try different things. If we stand still, we will fail. We have to continuously innovate to survive.

FF: Is this on R&D, intellectual property and so on?

Cutifani: It is literally in every job that everyone is doing. We are trying to promote innovation and guide the message by making sure that the imperative to improve is clearly understood. Innovation comes when people are not happy with the status quo or can see a better way to do things. So I'd like to encourage those restless innovators to be brave enough to try something different. I think that's important.

FF: Out of the countries your company operates in, which has improved most in terms of being business friendly?

Cutifani: It's a good question. I am thinking which one is the best and what countries need to be improved. I am very positive about Brazil. However the bureaucratic processes can be quite exhausting and things takes time. On the other hand, once you have got an approval you are supported well by government.
Speaking about South Africa, I think it is actually improving its legislative framework. Ownership issues from the past are now being improved within negotiations with government.

I hope it will be much better in the next six months. The new development act is an adjustment supporting the industrial sphere, called the MPRDA, which is a new step for South Africa.
In Australia, if we analyse the legislation process, not to mention the taxation system and generally negative debate about mining, hopefully the new government will work to clear some of the roadblocks.

In my opinion Canada is a very friendly jurisdiction for mining and a generally positive outlook. Good legislation, good tax structures supporting the mining industry.
Colombia has made progress. I think everyone understands they need to continue working in order to support development and investment.

FF: Are you concerned about the movement towards the left in Latin America, mostly you mention Brazil and Colombia? As you know the governments are going slightly left-wing recently and there are even rumours of nationalisation in Colombia in the telecom sector. Is this something in your radar?

Cutifani: I don't get too worried if a government is left, right or centre. But when people start talking about nationalisation or undermining ownership, that is a major problem. That will stop investment very quickly in the mining industry, because in our industry, when we invest, we invest for thirty years or more. It has more to do with their development policies.