JOHANNESBURG - South African miner Seriti Resources wants to move into exporting coal and would be interested in buying the assets and quotas of the Gupta family’s Optimum Coal, its chief executive said. 

Bidding for Optimum Coal would pit Seriti, with its ambitions of becoming a black-owned mining champion, against bigger miner Exxaro, which has expressed interest in buying Optimum's coal export quotas. 

Optimum Coal sought protection from creditors on February 20 with seven other companies owned by the Guptas, who are accused of corrupt ties to Jacob Zuma, but Zuma and the Gupta brothers deny any wrongdoing. Optimum has not made clear if its assets are up for sale but Seriti’s chief executive and shareholder Mike Teke used to own a stake in the company until Glencore bid for it in 2011. 

“Yes, I am interested,” Teke said on the sidelines of a mining conference in Johannesburg. “I still believe I can run the mine; I still believe I can add value; I still believe I can change the bad things that have happened at that mine.” Seriti already owns three coal mines acquired a year ago from Anglo American in a $166million (R2.1billion) deal.