November 27, 2017 / 6:44 AM / in a year

UPDATE 1-Australia's South32 looks to reduce interest in South African coal business

(Adds comment, detail, share performance)

Nov 27 (Reuters) - Australian miner South32 Ltd on Monday said its South Africa Energy Coal (SAEC) business would be run as a stand-alone unit, with the goal of widening its ownership and possibly listing it on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange.

“This will present opportunities for Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment entities, employees and communities,” the company said in a statement.

The South African government made changes to the country’s Mining Charter in June, raising the threshold for black ownership of mining firms to 30 percent, from 26 percent, despite protests from the Chamber of Mines, an industry body.

The Mining Charter contains regulations meant to redress imbalances of the nation’s past apartheid rule and stipulates rules for white-owned companies to sell stakes to black businesses.

The company also added in the statement that it would invest 4.3 billion rand ($305.14 million) in SAEC’s Klipspruit Life Extension project (KPSX). The investment is intended to extend the project’s life by about 20 years.

While shares in the miner closed about 2.6 percent-lower in Australia on Monday, they have gained 21.1 percent so far in 2017.

$1 = 14.0921 rand Reporting by Aaron Saldanha in Bengaluru; Editing by Joseph Radford

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