Anglo sells platinum mines in S. Africa to Sibanye for $330m

Anglo sells unwanted platinum mines in S. Africa to Sibanye for $330M

One of Anglo's Rustenburg platinum mines.

As anticipated yesterday, Anglo American (LON:AAL) has announced a $330 million deal with the country’s top gold producer Sibanye (NYSE:SBGL) (JSE:SGL) that will allow it to offload three of its loss-making platinum mines in South Africa.

The payment for the mine will be split between an upfront payment of cash or Sibanye shares totalling ZAR1.5 billion in value, plus a deferred consideration calculated as being equal to 35% of the distributable cash flow from the Rustenburg mine over a defined period, with the minimum amount payable set at ZAR3.0 billion.

The agreement puts and end to Anglo American’s long ownership of the mines near Rustenburg and further shrinks the firm’s ties to South Africa, its historic home.

“We remain committed to pursuing our strategy, continuing to reposition Anglo American Platinum as a high quality, largely mechanized operator yielding high margins,” Amplats said in the statement.

According to Anglo’s Platinum boss, Chris Griffith, the deal will allow Amplats “to transition the portfolio, to focus on the high quality assets, with modernized, low-cost, high-margin production and reduced safety risks with the majority of the production becoming mechanized in time,” he told reporters on a conference call.

For Sibanye, a company formed after Gold Fields (NYSE:GFI) spun off its main South African gold mines in 2012, the deal provides it with a springboard to do further acquisitions in platinum, the company said in a statement.

Amplats (JSE:AMS), the world’s largest platinum miner had been in talks with Sibanye Gold for over a year, pretty much since the latter made public its intention to diversify its asset base.

The sale is part of Anglo’s chief executive Mark Cutifani restructuring plan that includes lay offs and cost cuts. In August, the company sold two of its Chilean copper mines and plants for up to $500 million, while the sale of coal deposits in Australia is also in the works.

Prices for platinum, used in catalysts that cut harmful emissions from vehicles as well as jewellery, have dropped over 40% since August 2011, squeezing the margins of higher-cost, aging mines in South Africa, which holds more than 70% of global reserves.