Exxaro calls for bids for zinc assets

South African miner Exxaro has invited bids for its stake in a zinc and lead mine in Namibia and ownership of a refinery in South Africa in a move to exit the zinc business, an official said on Friday.

The assets up for sale include Exxaro’s 50.04% stake in the Rosh Pinah mine and its wholly owned Zincor refinery.

“The divestment process has formally commenced early May 2011,” Riaan Smit, manager for business growth, told Reuters.

He said the diversified mining company had sent invitations to potentially interested parties.

“This will be followed by entering into confidentiality agreements with interested parties, followed by the issue of detailed information memoranda leading to indicative bidding running from mid May 2011 to mid June 2011,” he said.

Smit said it was too early to comment on the amount of interest in the assets.

London-listed Vedanta Resources has been touted as a potential bidder for the Namibia mine.

Vedanta last year bought Anglo American’s zinc interests for $1.34-billion, including its Namibian Skorpion Zinc operation, the Black Mountain mine, the Gamsberg project in South Africa and Lisheen mine in Ireland.

Vedanta paid $698-million for Skorpion Zinc, which is adjacent to the Rosh Pinah mine.

The balance of the shares in Rosh Pinah are held by Namibian empowerment groups. The mine produced 101 000 tonnes of zinc concentrate and 19 000 tonnes of lead concentrate in 2010, according to Exxaro’s annual report.—Reuters

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