MAC/20: Mines and Communities

Women to the fore, not only in politics but also mining

Published by MAC on 2007-09-01


Women to the fore, not only in politics but also mining

1st September 2007

Forbes magazine has just published its choice of the One Hundred Most Powerful Women in the World., For the second year running, Germany's chancellor, Angela Merkel, comes in at number one, followed by Wu Yi, the vice-premier of China.

Little surprise there. But what's more intriguing is the presence of female leaders of two of the world's most powerful minerals companies in the Top Twenty: Cynthia Carroll, the CEO of Anglo American (number 7 - just after India's Sonia Gandhi). and Anne Lauvergeon, the CEO of Areva (number 14).

Here's what Forbes has to say about them:

"Though Carroll is little known on the world stage, she is a powerhouse in the world of commodities, a sector crucial to the world's economy. And within the corridors of world governments, she is a force to be reckoned with. As head of one of the world's largest mining conglomerates, with historical roots in South Africa, Carroll is the first chief executive to come from the outside in the company's 90-year history, its first female leader, and its first
non-South African chief exec. Carroll oversees a growing company, with interests in platinum, coal, gold, industrial minerals and diamonds. Her company owns a 45% stake in diamond company DeBeers, a 49% stake in MMX Minas-Rio, a Brazilian iron ore concern, and a 41.8% interest in AngloGold Ashanti, a gold concern. "

Headaches - thanks to AngloGold

However, as Forbes notes: "Lately AngloGold Ashanti has given Carroll headaches, as AngloGold has been hit with accusations by the anti-poverty non-profit War on Want that it makes its earnings from the abuse of people in the developing countries in which it has operations, namely Colombia, where it alleges there have been "murders of trade union and community leaders who oppose the company's activities in the region." Anglo American calls the assertions "inaccurate or disingenuous in its presentation of numerous material facts" and states "AngloGold Ashanti is only conducting exploration in Colombia and has no mining operations there."

And Forbes doesn't leave the criticisms there. "Separately, the company has disclosed in its most recent annual earnings release unacceptable safety performance in its platinum mines, and that it has taken "immediate measures" to
address safety concerns."

In contrast, Forbes gives Anne Lauvergeon, CEO of Areva (formerly Cogema, the world's second biggest uranium miner) an easy rung, claiming that her "star only continues to rise. As oil prices soar and electric power failures continue to vex much of the world, business and governments are giving nuclear another look. And Lauvergeon's warm relationship with new French president Nicolas Sarkozy, a supporter of free markets, may result in Lauvergeon finally getting to take Areva public, an attempt she made in 2005 before the French government blocked the move. "There is talk now of the French government selling part of its 94% stake in Areva to Bouygues, an energy-generation and construction firm controlled by the billionaire Bouygues family. "

Meanwhile, saus Forbes, "Lauvergeon continues to expand Areva's reach globally. For example, she is pushing hard on an initiative now underway to build Areva's first uranium-enrichment complex in the U.S. Prior to heading up Areva, Lauvergeon served as an aide to the late President Francois Mitterrand, was a partner at Lazard Freres & Cie, a financial advisory and asset management firm, and served as a senior executive vice president at Alcatel, a telecom concern that has since merged with Lucent"

[source: Forbes Magazine September 17 2007]

 

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