Jan. 8 (GIN)–A gold-mining CEO has been tapped for the top spot at the Anglo American mining company, just days after a damning report charged his previous corporate home with poisoning water and permitting “ongoing pollution,” all posing a severe risk to a fertile grazing area.
Mark Cutifani is scheduled to leave AngloGold Ashanti to take up the CEO job at Anglo American in March. His departure comes as charges have been filed against AngloGold for the repeated spills of toxic chemicals into groundwater not far from the vital Vaal River.
Cows grazing in the area have been dying from radioactive contamination, and a recent study by the North-West University found cattle in the area to have uranium levels 400 times higher than cattle in other areas.
Mariette Liefferink, head of the Federation for Sustainable Environment, said she pressed charges due to spillages from the company’s dam in Stilfontein in North West Province–a town with a history of mining disasters.
The minister of energy initially issued a directive against the mine, but then retracted it, Liefferink said. “We exhausted all internal remedies, so this is the last way to motivate them to do the right thing.”
Meanwhile, Anglo American Chairman Sir John Parker said this week: “Cutifani is an experienced chief executive with a focus on creating value. He is a highly respected leader in the global mining industry, with values strongly aligned to those of Anglo American.”
Anglo American also has dirty linen. A report by Reprisk cited them as among the top 10 most controversial mining companies of 2011.