Metorex in last phase of rebirth

[] –DIVERSIFIED mining group Metorex said it was entering the last phase of its rebirth.

Speaking at the company’s annual general meeting, Metorex chair Rob Still said the company had commenced the past year “fighting for its very survival”.

“With substantial group debt and the Ruashi project finance in default, the important Ruashi project far from completed and commissioning and production ramp up at an early stage and amidst a sharp worldwide recession affecting commodity prices across group operations, immediate and definitive corrective action was required. This action was taken,” said Still.

He said the company’s strategy had been sharply repositioned and refocused while the balance sheet had been improved primarily via asset sales amounting to in excess of R900m.

This process includes the sale of Vergenoeg Mining Company, which sale will be subject to shareholder approval at an Extraordinary General Meeting to be held later in December.

An outstanding objective is the sale or closure by no later than February 2010, of Consolidated Murchison, which operation is non-core to the refocused group strategy.

“We remain hopeful that a solution to save the mine and its associated community will be found,” said Still.

Besides restoring the company’s reputation for operational and technical excellence, he said Metorex had made steady and consistent progress throughout the financial year and to date.

He said the core operational focus on volumes, value, quality, costs and capital have all yielded results leading to improved profitability.

“We are now entering the last phase of the rebirth of Metorex and are doing so off the solid foundations of a competent and determined executive team, group operations increasingly performing to specification and improving commodity prices,” said Still.

Metorex has a new project pipeline including Kinsenda, Musonoi and Lubembe – all located near the Zambian border in the Katanga province of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).

Together with Chibuluma and Ruashi these will form the initial base for Metorex’s renewed value creation and enable Metorex to reach its immediate medium-term target of producing 120 000 tonnes of copper per annum.