South African platinum mining houses are on a restructuring drive that includes selling off under-performing and labour-intensive shafts following a five-month strike this year that dashed hopes of making them profitable.
Amplats’ stake in the Bokoni mine and other shafts around Rustenburg, the epicentre of the strike, has been up for sale as part of its drive to switch to more mechanised mining. Amplats is a unit of global miner Anglo American.
Baroka Tribal Mining, a community-owned firm in Limpopo province, will also buy Amplats’ 22.5 percent indirect stake in its joint venture partner, Atlatsa Resources, a document seen by Reuters showed.
The rest of Bokoni – a four-shaft mine that produces 170,000 ounces of platinum group metals a year – is owned by the Toronto-based Atlatsa.
The Amplats stake in Atlatsa is worth about $48 million, according to Reuters data.
“Baroka will also be taking on 1.7 billion rand in debt that Amplats loaned to Atlatsa as part of the deal,” the source, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told Reuters.
Spokesmen for Baroka and Amplats were not immediately available to comment.
A document, dated 18 December, seen by Reuters showed that Baroka has the support of the state-owned pension fund, the Public Investment Corporation (PIC), in its bid for the mine.
The source said the PIC was set to fund part of the transaction in exchange for a stake in the mine. Some of the funding would come in the form of a loan from local lender Nedbank, the source added.
The PIC and Nedbank were not immediately available to comment.