Petra Diamonds open to M&A deals, CEO says

Ground handling worker performing a routine inspection at Finsch, South Africa’s second largest diamond operation by production. (Image courtesy of Petra Diamonds.)

Diamond miner Petra Diamonds invited merger and acquisition proposals on Monday, with CEO Richard Duffy saying the industry would benefit from consolidation.

The diamond mining industry is dominated by Russia’s Alrosa on one hand, and Anglo American’s De Beers on the other, with the remainder of the sector made up of various small mining firms including Petra.

“We have got opportunities to grow organically, but given that we are through this restructuring and we have a much more robust balance sheet, we would be willing to consider consolidation if it makes value sense,” Duffy told Reuters in an interview on the sidelines of the Investing in African Mining Indaba in Cape Town.

“I think it’s healthy for an industry to have smaller and bigger players, but I think the multitude of single-asset companies is difficult.”

Petra completed a debt-for-equity restructuring in 2021 after abandoning plans to sell the company.

Duffy said the investigation into the cause of a mine waste dam failure at Petra’s Williamson mine in Tanzania in November is ongoing, and the company expects the mine to start producing again by July.

The tailings dam breach impacted 156 people and 28 homes, Petra has said. The company is in the process of rehousing those impacted, Duffy said, and will provide monetary compensation for crops as well as land to people whose land was made uninhabitable by the failure.

“It’s something that should never happen,” Duffy said of the tailings failure. Petra aims for all its mines to comply by August 5 with a new global tailings standard agreed by the industry in 2020.

(By Helen Reid and Clara Denina; Editing by Louise Heavens)


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