What Is the History of Anglo American?

Anglo American is a mining company that was founded in South Africa in 1917 by Sir Ernest Oppenheimer. It is now one of the largest mining companies in the world, operating in multiple countries and extracting various minerals.

The Early Years of Anglo American

In its early years, Anglo American focused mainly on gold mining in South Africa. The company grew quickly under Oppenheimer’s leadership and soon expanded its operations to include diamonds as well. By the 1930s, Anglo American had become a major player in the mining industry, with interests not just in South Africa but also in other parts of Africa and even Australia.

Expansion into Other Minerals

Over time, Anglo American diversified its portfolio to include other minerals such as coal, platinum, and copper. This diversification helped the company weather economic downturns and maintain its position as a leading mining company.

Apartheid Controversy

However, Anglo American’s history has not been without controversy. During the era of apartheid in South Africa, the company came under fire for its role in supporting the regime. Critics accused Anglo American of benefiting from cheap labor provided by black workers who were denied basic human rights.

Current Operations

Today, Anglo American operates in multiple countries including Brazil, Chile, Peru and Canada. The company continues to extract a variety of minerals including diamonds, platinum group metals and copper among others.

  • Diamonds – In Botswana and Canada.
  • Copper – In Chile and Peru.
  • Nickel – In Brazil.
  • Platinum Group Metals – In South Africa.

The Future of Anglo American

As with any large corporation, it is difficult to predict exactly what the future holds for Anglo American. However, the company has made a commitment to sustainability and social responsibility, as evidenced by its membership in the International Council on Mining and Metals. It also aims to reduce its carbon footprint and has set Targets for reducing emissions.


In conclusion, Anglo American has a rich history dating back over a century. The company’s early focus on gold mining in South Africa helped it grow into the diversified mining giant that it is today. While there have been controversies along the way, Anglo American remains a leader in the industry and is committed to sustainability and responsible mining practices.