Amplats ‘not’ selling Rustenburg assets

The Anglo American Platinum mine in Rustenburg, North West. Picture: AFP PHOTOS

The Anglo American Platinum mine in Rustenburg, North West. Picture: AFP PHOTOS

Anglo American Platinum (Amplats) has backtracked suddenly on statements by Anglo’s Chief Executive Mark Cutifani that the miner is looking for buyers for its strike-hit Rustenburg assets.

Hulisani Rasivhaga, a media specialist at Anglo American, said Anglo was not seeking a buyer; it was just assessing which of its operations were sustainable after the closure of two unprofitable shafts.

Business Day reported Anglo American was looking for a buyer in an interview with editor Peter Bruce on Business Day TV. But Rasivhaga said later Anglo’s Rustenburg operations remained marginal and the company continued to consider several options as part of the on-going review of the portfolio.

Cutifani said “the Rustenburg resource is not what it used to be”, adding: “I don’t think that is where our best skills set sits. That’s why I have been quite vocal saying we should consider taking a step back from Rustenburg. We should be focusing on the more mechanised operations, which is what I think we do much better, and allow someone who has a better skills set in those kinds of assets.”

Rasivhaga said the company would continue making assessments but was not looking for a buyer. “This is a very delicate situation and we have been making sustainability assessments over the years so this is nothing new. It has been a long time coming, the CEO speaks on mechanisation and how mines in that area were doing well and that maybe we should be focusing on operating in these areas,” she said.

The strike has lasted for over three months and has cost more than R17bn in production and wage losses. The Association for Mineworkers and Construction (Amcu) is demanding R12 500 minimum wage salary over a four year period while the companies have offered between 7% and 9% increments over three years.

Last week, a Reuters report inaccurately linked Exxaro to Amplats assets in Rustenburg.

In a statement released on the Stock Exchange News Service last week, Exxaro said the group was neither in discussions with Amplats, nor was it assessing the acquisition of Amplats assets.

Exxaro CEO, Sipho Nkosi said although the company was continuously monitoring potential opportunities, it had no plans to enter the PGM space in the medium term.

The only miner to have gone on record as seeking opportunities in platinum is Sibanye Gold. James Wellsted, the spokesperson of Sibanye Gold said: “we are interested in participating in any restructuring of the platinum sector as long as we can extract value for our shareholders and it supports our dividend yield strategy. We have signalled our intent to all of the platinum companies and we are not specifically talking Anglo Platinum,” he said.




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