/ 21 July 2014

Amplats may sell SA mines as strike hits profit

Thandi Maqubela.
Thandi Maqubela.

Anglo American Platinum (Amplats), the world’s largest producer of platinum, is putting four mines and possibly two joint ventures up for sale, it said in a statement on Monday. 

It will retain the Mogalakwena open-cast operation, the company’s largest, three other mining assets and four stakes in joint ventures. “We will create a company that delivers the majority of its production from mechanized mines” and “operates in the lower half of the cost curve,” it said. The strike by more than 70 000 miners at Amplats, Impala Platinum and Lonmin cost the companies R23.9-billion in revenue and workers R10.6-billion in wages by the time it ended on June 24. 

The stoppage pushed South Africa’s economy into contraction in the first three months of this year as mining output plunged in the country that accounts for more than two-thirds of the mined production of the metal. Amplats said in January 2013 it planned to sell the Union mine, north of Rustenburg. The company has yet to find a buyer for the asset. 

It will also exit its three Rustenburg operations and its Pandora joint venture, it said on Monday. It will possibly sell its stake in the Bokoni JV with Atlatsa Resources Corporation. Earnings per share excluding one-time items fell to 60 cents in the six months, from R5.14 a year earlier, Amplats said. 

Net income dropped to R157-million from R1.3-billion in 2013, it said. Platinum sales decreased to 1.04-million ounces from 1.07-million ounces a year earlier. Platinum fell 7.1% to an average $1.438 an ounce in the first half compared with a year earlier.– Bloomberg