Amplats reviewing Rustenburg mines

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AngloPlatStrike Reuters.

Johannesburg - South Africa's Anglo American Platinum said on Monday it was reviewing options for its Rustenburg operations, which were hit by a crippling five-month strike that ended last week.

Spokeswoman Mpumi Sithole told Reuters: “We expect to provide further details at the interims on 21 July.”

Amplats' parent Anglo American has signaled its intention to possibly dispose of some its aging platinum assets in South Africa and Britain's Sunday Times reported it had put them up for sale.

A painful restructuring has been expected in South Africa's platinum sector, which is struggling with rising costs and depressed prices for the precious metal used for catalytic converters in automobiles.

Amplats' chief executive Chris Griffiths said last week the world No. 1 platinum producer would likely end up losing 11 billion rand from the wage strike by the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (AMCU), which also hit Impala Platinum and Lonmin operations.

Bullion producer Sibanye Gold has said it might snap up platinum assets that come up for sale and is seen as one likely buyer of Amplats' distressed mines.

Sibanye's management team has a reputation for squeezing profit out of mines nearing the end of their lives and it could potentially fund the purchase by tapping cheap Chinese sources of finance given its connection to investors from the country. - Reuters

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