There has been a lot of Chinese investment in South African mining over the years, but little to show in terms of outright production success. Wesizwe Platinum is positioned to change this track-record.
Li dropped off the radar over the last few years, but the company is now close to bringing new platinum group metals (PGM) from the Bakubung project into production. This is a rare, new underground mine outside the major producers in the PGM sector. Work on Bakubung, which is immediately south of the Sun City holiday resort, started in 2011.
Wesizwe has had a number of CEOs since it was formed, but Li will be the head of the company as its long-held plans finally ripen, coinciding nicely with a surge in PGM prices. Li, however, has to find a final tranche of funding to complete the project which has already eaten through a $650m facility provided by China Development Bank. Based on data in its 2019 annual report, it may need another $200m. Wesizwe says its largest shareholder, China Africa Jinchuan Investments, will support the shortfall in funding and has even guaranteed a repayment of the $650m loan. Securing this money and completing the project are Li’s key focus for 2021. Among the critical items to finalise will be the construction of the processing plant, which has been delayed by six months to October 2021. The mine will ultimately have capacity to produce 420,000 ounces of PGMs and gold.
There has been a lot of Chinese investment in South African mining over the years but little to show in terms of outright production success. Wesizwe Platinum is positioned to change this track-record.
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