RBPlat made offer for PTM’s surface infrastructure

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Maseve mine

ROYAL Bafokeng Platinum (RBPlat) made an offer for the surface infrastructure of Maseve mine, including a concentrator, which is owned by the beleaguered Toronto-listed Platinum Group Metals (PTM).

“I’m not sure if they were just testing the market, but we made an offer for the surface infrastructure,” said Chris Griffith, CEO of Anglo American Platinum (Amplats) in an interview on July 24. “It was through Royal Bafokeng Platinum because of the synergies we could extract with PTM’s Maseve mine and Styldrift,” he said. “We could have bought the concentrator for Styldrift.” Amplats and RBPlat are joint venture partners.

Significant cost savings would flow from acquiring the Maseve concentrator at the right price, especially after it emerged in February this year that RBPlat’s Styldrift project was, at capital expenditure of more than R11bn, running over budget. In order to reach nameplate capacity of 230,000 tonnes of ore per month, a 100,000 tonne per month concentrator has to be built at Styldrift at a capital cost of R1.6bn.

Griffith said the company had no interest in the Maseve underground mine which has presented PTM with some serious ramp-up challenges. PTM has subsequently resorted to a hybrid mining method of conventional and mechanized mining in an effort to improve the recovered grade, lift output, and achieve profitability.

PTM said in a recent announcement that it continued to look at corporate options whilst simultaneously downgrading its production targets and releasing staff in order to stay afloat. It may also seek another $20m in shareholder funds.

Commenting in its results for the nine months ended May, in which it reported a $287m net loss (2016: $1.6m), the company alerted shareholders of having to raise an additional $10m to $20m. This would be “… by way of refinancing its existing debt, the issuance of new debt, private or public offerings of equity or the sale of project or property interests”.

“The company has active discussions in all areas of additional funding with several parties,” it said. Current cash on hand was $20m, it added.

The net loss was largely down to a $280m impairment on missed production targets and the transition to a hybrid mining method of which $225m was recognised in the three months ended May.

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