Johannesburg - The board of Gold Fields has confirmed that there are investigations into the company's BEE transaction at its South Deep mine, the mining firm said on Wednesday.
“Gold Fields confirms that in December 2012, the company, through the social and ethics committee of its board of directors, commenced a thorough, independent investigation concerning its Black Economic Empowerment (BEE) transactions,” Gold Fields said in a statement.
“The company took this action following press reports raising questions about those transactions.”
The company said it had engaged the independent international law firm, Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton and Garrison LLP (known as Paul Weiss) to undertake the investigation.
“The board has directed Paul Weiss to determine the facts, and to provide recommendations to the board. Gold Fields has also asked Paul Weiss to review the company's relevant internal controls and to recommend any necessary improvements,” it said.
“Gold Fields will report further on this matter upon the conclusion of the investigation, which is being conducted with the full support of the board and senior management.”
On Tuesday, Business Day reported that Gold Fields former chairwoman Mamphela Ramphele said the government had shoved a list of Black Economic Empowerment (BEE) shareholders down Gold Fields' throat, with an ultimatum that if the preferred names were not taken on board it would be denied a mining licence.
These shareholders were to be part of the Invictus Gold empowerment deal.
The deal resulted in politically-connected Invictus Gold taking nine percent of South Deep mine at a cost of R1.1 billion in 2010, Business Day reported.
The newspaper reported that Gold Fields had not provided the names of all 73 shareholders in Invictus Gold, which had led to the “secretive” nature of the deal.
Only 18 Invictus Gold shareholders were revealed to the public.
Ramphele became chairwoman of Gold Fields at about the time the deal was finalised.
“We also, under my leadership instituted the social and ethics committee. It is not me in charge of that investigation, because we believe in good governance,” Ramphele was quoted as telling the newspaper.
“Now, to jump to the conclusion that I must have been colluding with this simply because I talk too much - I always criticise government - is sad,” she told Business Day.
Gold Fields has rejected the Business Day story as untrue.
“Gold Fields values and respects the services to the company of its former chair Dr Mamphela Ramphele,” the company said.
“During her tenure, Dr Ramphele strongly supported the board's decision to commission an independent investigation. Statements attributed in press reports yesterday to Dr Ramphele represent her own personal views,” Gold Fields said. - Sapa