Aurora gold mine bought

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IOL BR mining PIC001 REUTERS File image: Reuters

Johannesburg - China African Precious Metals (CAPM) has bought assets of the embattled Aurora gold mine in Orkney in the North West, the company said on Wednesday.

CAPM said it reached an agreement with provisional liquidators of mine and successfully met their requirements, including the full payment of the acquisition price.

“The board of directors sees its investment in the mining sector in South Africa as its first imprint in Southern Africa,” CAPM said in a statement.

Johan Engelbrecht, one of the joint provisional liquidators, confirmed the acquisition.

“Yes, the acquisition has been made. Part of the other assets at Springs (in Ekurhuleni) have been sold to Gold One and we are selling the remainder of the assets to other buyers,” said Engelbrecht.

CAPM is 74 percent owned by Superb Gold Ltd, with 26 percent owned by a broad-based black economic empowerment consortium led by Elias Khumalo.

Khumalo is reportedly a business associate of President Jacob Zuma.

Miningmx reported in August 2011 that CAPM's bid was worth R150 million.

In October 2009, Aurora Empowerment Systems was singled out as the preferred bidder for Pamodzi's Orkney and Grootvlei mines when the company went bankrupt.

It undertook to invest R600m in the mine, but after workers went without salaries for months and mine assets were stripped, Aurora's status as preferred bidder was cancelled on May 26, 2011.

CAPM said it would be having discussing with the National Union of Mineworkers and trade union Solidarity to discuss a strategy for re-employment of workers and a collective agreement.

The acquisition price of the Orkney gold mine assets would be released by liquidators later.

NUM spokesman Lesiba Seshoka said the union was pleased with the acquisition.

“As a union we are looking forward to an end of this painful lengthy process. We hope that our members will be able to get back to work and be paid all the money that is owed to them,” said Seshoka.

Solidarity was also pleased with the acquisition.

“Solidarity is relieved that finally, after four years, these assets have been sold,” said Solidarity general secretary Gideon du Plessis.

He said the union was however concerned that it would be a uphill battle for CAPM to get the mine into full operation because Aurora had “destroyed” the asset.

“We hope CAPM has learnt a lesson that it takes three things to run a successful mine - captital, mining skills and integrity,” said Du Plessis. - Sapa

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