Bushveld Minerals agrees to revised $40.6m sale of Vanchem

BUSHVELD Minerals said on Tuesday it would sell 100% of its Vanchem processing facility to Southern Point Resources (SPR) for $40.6m – a deal that keeps it from the provisional liquidator’s door.

SPR, an investment firm led by former Anglo Coal engineer Mathews Senosi, came to prominence last year after proposing to invest $77.5m in Bushveld which had been laid low by missed production targets and low vanadium prices under previous management.

As part of that proposal SPR offered to buy 50% of Vanchem for $25m which also included a 64% stake in Bushveld subsidiary company Mokopane Vanadium for $3.7m.

Today’s revised transaction for all of Vanchem, which does not include Mokopane Vanadium, was necessary in order for Bushveld to avoid provisional liquidation, said Craig Coltman, CEO of Bushveld since August.

The sale of Vanchem comprises an initial payment of $20.6m followed by a deferred payment of between $15m and $20m.

As part of the initial investment, SPR will provide $9m in working capital funds to Bushveld having provided $8.1m to date. Some $3m was paid on May 3 with additional payments of $5m and $1m to be advanced on May 31 and June 30.

Bushveld said it had explored “all available funding options” including the further issue of its shares. However, this was not considered viable following the 67% collapse in Bushveld shares since the beginning of the year.

“Accordingly, the board has determined that in order for the company to continue as a going concern, having consulted with its key stakeholders, the only viable option to bring in immediate funds is through an increased working capital facility with SPR and to sell its remaining interest in Vanchem on the following proposed terms,” the company said.

“The proposed sale of Vanchem will enable the group to move forward in a more agile and lean manner and help pay down our creditors,” said Coltman.

The transaction leaves Bushveld with only one operating asset: the Vametco plant which produces steel feed vanadium from facilities in Brits in the North West province. Vanchem, which is a processing plant, is situated in Mpumalanga province.

No mention was made of SPR’s overarching business plans for Bushveld which was to recapitalise all of the business especially as the company has to repay $7m in a convertible loan note to Orion Mine Finance by the end of June.

Asked by a shareholder last month on whether it was possible to defer this payment, Coltman said: “In all our dealings, Orion has been reasonable and pragmatic. They want us to succeed. They have investment committees, and it is something we are speaking to them about. Watch this space.”