Sibanye Gold chief executive Neal Froneman. Photo: Simphiwe Mbokazi/ Independent Media

Johannesburg - South Africa's Sibanye Gold aims to make a “material” acquisition in platinum mining by the end of this year as it seeks to diversify its business, its chief executive said in a newspaper interview on Tuesday.

Sibanye has already signalled it might be interested in buying some platinum mines, an industry currently hit by a nearly three month wage strike by members of the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu).

A business newspaper quoted chief executive Neal Froneman as saying: “We have, for probably six months now, been looking intensely at different platinum companies and assets. We have gone through the front doors of these companies and said we want to build a South African precious metal champion.”

“I would be very disappointed if by the end of this year we haven't done a material platinum transaction.”

The ongoing platinum strike has affected operations at Anglo American Platinum (Amplats), Impala Platinum and Lonmin.

Mark Cutifani, the chief executive of Amplats parent company Anglo American, told Reuters earlier this month that divesting from the strike-afflicted platinum division could be an option if it does not perform as well as others. - Reuters