Securities & Exchange Commission Investigating S. African Gold Producer

Securities & Exchange Commission Investigating S. African Gold Producer

South Africa’s second-largest gold producer, Gold Fields, said Tuesday it is being investigated by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission over a 2010 black empowerment deal, according to a Reuters report in IndependentOnline.

Gold Fields is listed on the New York Stock Exchange and therefore subject to scrutiny by U.S. regulators, the report said. The company said in a statement it was being probed over the deal, which included granting a mining licence for its South Deep mine.

The company gave a 9 percent stake in South Deep to a group of black investors in 2010 to meet government targets for black economic empowerment. Black economic empowerment laws aim to boost black ownership in Africa’s largest economy following the end of apartheid in 1994.

Gold Fields former Chairwoman Mamphela Ramphele told South Africa’s Business Day newspaper in March the company had come under government pressure to include certain specific shareholders in the deal.

Gold Fields said Ramphele’s comments represent her personal view.

Ramphele has since founded an opposition political party to challenge the ruling African National Congress.

The company, South Africa’s second biggest gold producer, said in August an independent investigation into the deal determined that the transaction did not meet its own standards.

Gold Fields CEO Nick Holland offered to waive his 2013 bonus due to concerns over the deal.

The company has not released the results of the independent investigation, which it said was prompted by several local press reports about the transaction.