It’s perhaps an indication of the near gravitational pull of resources that even media and industrial group HCI is considering dipping its toe in the sector. That’s according to a one-line comment in HCI’s annual report, in which it says that it’s assembling a team to investigate resources-based opportunities. Talking to Miningmx, management reminded shareholders not to get too carried away by the proposal.

Said CEO Johnny Copelyn: “HCI is pretty opportunistic. We’re invested in buses, TV and casinos. This [mining investment] is pretty typical of us.”

The plan is to spend R20m exploring coal resources that are an estimated couple of months away from “bankability” – jargon miners use to describe whether they’ve got a profit-maker or not.

“We’re a R6bn company, so R20m is hardly going to break the bank. It really depends on what we find. It might theoretically add 10% to our market capitalisation,” said Copelyn.

The potential deposits that HCI is examining are in traditional coal mining areas, though Copelyn declines to give exact co-ordinates. (Read Mpumalanga/Witbank region). The last time HCI dabbled in the world of mining was during the Nineties, when it played a part in the empowerment of the like-sounding JCI, then led by the late Brett Kebble. HCI had a stake in Saflife, the mining investments of which some were sold to Kebble and his then partner, Mzi Khumalo. The financial services in Saflife were sold to HCI. “We were one of the few business people to do a deal with Brett Kebble and see the money,” said Copelyn. Digging around for coal – currently riding the crest of a wave amid a global commodity boom – is much safer.

Source: MiningMx_David Mackay