EASTERN Platinum was one of the first platinum companies to shut operations amid declining prices. Since then, however, the direction and strategic intent of the company has been a mystery. A proposal to sell the company to a Chinese group for $225m, which saw Ian Rozier, Eastplats CEO of 13 years resign, was called off, but was soon followed by another proposal to sell the Crocodile River Mine to a second Chinese company for $50m. By May 2016, there was evidence of a shareholder revolt after yet another Chinese firm Ka An Development Company and Canadians K2 Principle Fund bought shares in Eastplats. A short but vitriolic campaign to discredit the new shareholders was fought until a July AGM when Ka An ousted the board. But peace did not break out at Eastplats. A newly appointed CEO, the evasive Diana Hu, launched an investigation into the $50m disposal of Crocodile River and a $13m buyout of the mine’s BEE partners. The proposed buyer of Crocodile River then initiated legal proceedings against Eastplats whilst a plan to issue $10.3m in new shares was also called off. It looks like sheer mayhem with perhaps the only solace to take is Lubbe himself, the proxy individual after his principals have been reticent to be identified. He is a good, strong operator if only some strategic direction can be set down.
LIFE OF ANTON
A mining engineer by training, Lubbe started his career with Blyvooruitzicht Gold Mining Company in 1980. Since then, he has gone on to work with a number of top South African mining firms including Aquarius Platinum where he was MD and DRDGold where he was head of new business and projects.
“It looks like sheer mayhem”
- Web Address: www.eastplats.com