ANTON Lubbe still has much work to do at Eastern Platinum (Eastplats) where he is the ‘man-on-the-ground’, but at least it’s the right kind of work. By this we mean 2018 offers Eastplats the chance to press on with the actual business of mining, having spent much of 2017 fighting legal battles – the most important of which was with Chinese firm, Hebei Zhongheng Tianda Platinum Company (HZT). This is the company that entered into some kind of agreement with Eastplats’ previous management – ousted in 2016 – to buy Crocodile River Mine (CRM) for $50m. By November, the two sides decided to split monies held in escrow and walk peaceably away; HZT dropped its legal challenge to Eastplat’s rejection of the CRM deal. And while there are still legal threats rattling in the background, there is at least an operational plan: the mining of platinum group metals from the Mareesbrug open pit, and the processing of the Zandfontein Tailings facility where an estimated 13.6 million tonnes of chrome mineral resource resides. It will cost R219m to mine the chrome while SRK is investigating Mareesburg. Financially, Eastplats is afloat, but it’s not safe yet. There is $23m in cash, but it really needs to start generating actual cash flow. Results of a feasibility into the Zandfontein Tailings project is due by the second quarter of 2018.
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.
- Web Address: www.eastplats.com