Anglo American’s South African coal mines are “worthless,” according researcher Boatman Capital, which published a 39-page dossier on the company that also accused the mining giant of greenwashing.
The dossier alleges clean-up costs for Thungela Resources could be three-times greater than the amounts currently disclosed to investors, the Telegraph reported.
Anglo American will demerge with Thungela this week after the miner’s large investors pressured it to cut ties with coal.
Anglo American’s advisers calculated that Thungela is worth more than £500m, however Boatman said the valuation is misleading, instead valuing the business at “zero”.
The dossier said: “The demerger allows Anglo to dump enormous environmental coats onto a much less well capitalised company.
“To us, this looks like greenwashing: Anglo is claiming to be acting positively by reducing its greenhouse emissions while seemingly washing its hand of clean-up obligations.
“Thungela seems to have significantly under-estimated its environmental liabilities and therefore could have given investors a misleading impression of the company’s value.”
Boatman’s criticism of Anglo American centres on claims that the miner has not set aside enough money for the clean-up of sites in accordance with new rules that will be introduced by South African authorities next summer.
A spokesperson for Anglo American told the Telegraph that the new rules “are controversial and simply do not accurately reflect the actual or likely sums expended to discharge the liabilities.”
They continued: “The Minerals Council of South Africa has made these submissions to the Minister and continues to do so. The regulations on which the Boatman report apparently draws its conclusion are far from being finalised.
“Thungela will allow investors direct access to a leading South African coal miner with a lean organisational structure, low cash costs and high margin assets, with a strong balance sheet with positive cash reserves.”