Northam, Siyanda Resources in bidding to buy Amplats’ Bokoni Mines: report

NORTHAM Platinum’s search for platinum group metals (PGM) resources and mining flexibility may not be at an end after it was reported today it had been shortlisted with Siyanda Resources to buy mothballed operations in the north-west of the Bushveld Complex.

BusinessLive reported today the two companies were in the running to buy Bokoni Platinum Mines, assets that were marked for sale by Anglo American Platinum (Amplats) after the Anglo American group failed to turn them around in a restructuring drive.

In 2017, Siyanda Resources won the bidding for Amplats’ 85% interest in Union Mine and a 50.1% interest in MASA Chrome Company for R400m in cash as well as a share of future cash flow over 10 years up to a maximum payout to Amplats of R6bn.

BusinessLive cited people familiar with the transaction.

Amplats declined to comment on the list of companies that have been shortlisted but confirmed that the disposal process was well advanced, BusinessLive said.

Northam Platinum has made a success of sweeping up assets owned by other companies. It snapped up Eland Platinum from Glencore for R175m, an asset former mining house, Xstrata, had bought for $1bn. In 2015, it acquired the Everest mine for R450m from struggling Aquarius Platinum. Everest is contiguous with Northam’s Booysendal mine and project.

Then in October 2016, he swapped minerals with Anglo American Platinum in a deal worth R1bn in order to secure the future of Zondereinde for 30 years.

Amplats has long struggled to make it work at Bokoni.

In 2015, the group cut a third of the initial 6,342 people employed at Bokoni Mines from the payroll. That was followed in 2016 by a decision to place on care and maintenance the Klipfontein opencast section and delay the ramp-up of the mine’s Brakfontein Merensky and Middlepunt Hill UG2 shaft.

By the middle of 2017, the mine had lost another R500m.