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Mitsubishi exits thermal coal sector, sells stakes in Australia mines

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Japan’s Mitsubishi has said it will sell its stakes in two Australian thermal coal mines for A$750-million, a move that means its exit from upstream thermal coal amid growing pressure from environmental activists.




The stake sales comes as a growing number of companies and pension funds across the globe are divesting assets or companies that generate revenues from fossil fuels, particularly coal.

Thermal coal, used to power turbines to produce electricity, has fallen out of favour with investors worried about pollution and greenhouse gases.

Mitsubishi will sell its 31.4% stake in Clermont coal mine to a joint venture between Glencore and Sumitomo, and its 10% stake in Ulan coal mine to Glencore, it said in a statement.

The deals are aimed at optimising its asset portfolio, Mitsubishi said.

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For Mitsubishi, which decided to sell its interest in two other thermal coal mines in Australia last year, the latest deals will mean an exit from thermal coal operations, although its coking coal operation will remain a key asset for the trading house.

The Clermont deal, expected to be completed in 2019, will bring the Glencore-Sumitomo joint venture’s stake in the mine to nearly 81.5%, Sumitomo said in a separate statement.

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“The acquisition will allow us to continue stable supply of high-quality thermal coal to our existing customers, including Japanese utilities,” a Sumitomo spokesman said.

Sumitomo’s share of the Clermont purchase means it will pay about 23-billion yen for a 15.7% stake in the mine, he said.

Sumitomo has no plans to invest in any new development projects for thermal coal mines, given the serious concerns over climate change, the spokesman said.

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President Ramaphosa to Sign South African Competition Amendment Bill Into Law

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South African President Cyril Ramaphosa will sign into law today the Competition Amendment Bill, which will strengthen regulations against anti-competitive behaviour in industrial markets.



The bill, which was approved by the National Assembly in October 2018 and endorsed by the National Council of Provinces in December 2018, is a step in the right direction for SMEs, economic inclusion and it opens up the economy to fresh investment and innovation.

It also provides a clear mandate to the competition authorities to address economic concentration in a balanced manner and to promote economic transformation, the Presidency said on Monday.

Additionally, the amended legislation seeks to combat concentration and economic exclusion as core challenges that contribute to slower and less dynamic growth, lower employment and greater inequalities, as well as socio-political conflict.

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The Presidency said this will enable a more effective approach to concentration, with a focus on improving outcomes for small and black-owned business, and strengthen the institutions involved in managing competition policy and law.

The signing ceremony will take place this afternoon at the Tuynhuys Chambers in Parliament. Economic Development Minister Ebrahim Patel, who campaigned fiercely for the bill’s codification, will join the ceremony along with a group of stakeholders.

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Manufacturing Output Growth Slows Again in South Africa

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The preliminary data from Statistics South Africa has showed the rate at which South Africa manufacturing output slowed twice again within the month of December.




Negative contributions came from petroleum, chemicals, rubber and plastic products, iron and steel, non-ferrous metal products, metal products and machinery industries to make outputs edged up a non-adjusted 0.1% year-on-year in December following a 1.3% increase in November and a 3.0% gain in October

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As against a drastic output growth in the prior month; 0.7% following a 0.4% rise in November

Meanwhile motor vehicles, parts and other transport equipment, food and beverages, glass and non-metallic mineral products made the biggest positive contributions in December.

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