Mining giant digging deep for black SMEs

28 February 2008

28 February 2008 | Paul Snell

Anglo American, the world's third biggest mining company, has increased its spend with minority suppliers in South Africa.

It spent $2.3 billion (£1.2 billion) with black-owned and managed small and medium sized (BEE) suppliers in 2007. This was up 41 per cent on the $1.6 billion (£811 million) the firm spent in 2006.

In a speech in Cape Town this month, Cynthia Carroll, chief executive at the firm, said the company recognised it had a responsibility to contribute positively to the country and its people.

"Anglo American is not just a believer in Africa for what it can extract from the continent, but for what it can put back," she said. "South Africa continues to punch above its economic weight on the world stage, because Anglo's boosting of the BEE process is widening the economy as a whole."

Anglo Platinum was the group's biggest spender with $900 million (£457 million), followed by Anglo Coal with $400 million (£203 million). The BEE spend represents 37 per cent of the firm's total procurement spend in South Africa. Since 1993 Anglo American has spent $7.2 billion (£3.6 billion) with BEE suppliers.

Carroll praised the work of Anglo Zimele, the firm's business development arm, in collaborating with purchasing departments: "An integral part of the unit's work is the transformation of our supply chain and in that role it assists our procurement function to identify BEE suppliers."

She added that companies needed to "act in unison" to tackle energy shortages that have dogged the country in recent weeks.

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