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Anglo American’s Thungela to face shrinking markets for thermal coal

By David Whitehouse
Posted on Wednesday, 26 May 2021 08:50

Outside Anglo American offices in Johannesburg. REUTERS/Siphiwe Sibeko

Anglo American's plan to demerge its thermal coal assets into a new listed company risks cordoning off a business which may struggle to manage end-of-life assets in a shrinking market.

The demerger of Anglo American’s South African thermal coal assets will be completed on 7 June. The new company, Thungela, will trade on the stock market in Johannesburg and London.

The move is part of the company’s aim of achieving carbon neutrality by 2040, which would be 10 years earlier than other miners such as BHP, Rio Tinto and Vale. CEO Mark Cutifani has said he is confident that Thungela will be “a responsible steward” of Anglo American’s South African thermal coal assets.

There is a real risk that export demand for South African coal will fall much faster than some anticipate and pure-play coal miners like Thungela will find it hard to attract investment.