Done deal? Amplats said to have sold platinum mines to Sibanye for $100M

Done deal? Amplats said to have sold platinum mines to Sibanye for $100M

Amplats' Mogalakwena platinum mine. (Photo courtesy of Anglo American Platinum)

<UPDATE: Anglo and Sibanye confirm deal>

Anglo American Platinum (Amplats) is said to have reached an agreement with Sibanye Gold (NYSE:SBGL) (JSE:SGL) over three of its South African platinum mines up for sale.

According to Bloomberg, the companies will make an official announcement of the $100 million buy and sell agreement on Wednesday.

Shares in both firm were up after the news. Amplats closed slightly higher at 31,400 cents while Sibanye finished the session in Johannesburg up by 8.33% to 1,755 cents.

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

An exit from Rustenburg — with three mines and a workforce of about 16,000 — would deepen the changes Anglo’s chief executive Mark Cutifani has promised.  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.