• Glencore CEO Ivan Glasenberg. Picture: BLOOMBERG/LUKE MACGREGOR

  • Mineral Resources Minister Mosebenzi Zwane, far left, speaks during a visit to Harmony Gold's Doornkop Mine on Tuesday. Picture: GCIS

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GLENCORE said it worked with "stakeholders" including the government to facilitate the sale of its Optimum coal mine, after the Sunday Times reported that the mineral resources minister met Glencore’s CEO ahead of the mine’s sale to a group owned by friends of President Jacob Zuma.

Glencore placed the mine in business rescue, which means that it is handed over to curators or business rescue practitioners, after it failed to convince power company Eskom to loosen the terms of an agreement that Glencore said made Optimum unprofitable.

The mine was sold by the business rescue practitioners to Tegeta, a company controlled by the Gupta family, who are in business with one of Mr Zuma’s sons.

"Glencore has been working with the BRPs (business rescue practitioners) of Optimum Coal and all other stakeholders including government" the company said on Sunday. "Glencore is pleased with the terms of the transaction concluded by the BRPs with Tegeta."

The Sunday Times reported that Minister Mosebenzi Zwane met Glencore CEO Ivan Glasenberg late last year at the Dolder Grand Hotel in Zurich, to facilitate the sale of the mine. A delegation representing the Guptas left Zurich on December 2, the same day Mr Zwane departed.

Glencore did not answer a question about whether Mr Glasenberg had met Mr Zwane. The sale of Optimum also included the Koornfontein mine.