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

Johannesburg - Sibanye Gold, the South African mining company that has lost a third of its market value since being spun off by Gold Fields, won approval from its banks to pay higher dividends to shareholders this year.

Sibanye jumped 8.8 percent in Johannesburg, adding to a 9.2 percent gain yesterday, after saying it may study paying as much as a quarter of earnings in half- and full-year dividends with the agreement if gross debt doesn’t exceed 4 billion rand ($400 million). The annual payout may be as much as 35 percent if debt is a maximum of 3.5 billion rand, it said today in a statement.

Increased dividends will help compensate investors for the slump in gold companies’ shares this year as the price of the metal dived and South African labor unions demanded gains in pay above inflation.

The half-year dividend payment also depends on the company concluding wage talks with workers, Sibanye said.

“The revised terms recognise the cash generative ability of our assets, even at lower prevailing gold prices and will provide greater balance sheet flexibility and the ability to pay dividends to shareholders earlier,” chief executive Neal Froneman said in the statement.

The company said it’s in further negotiations to extend the term of its debt.

Sibanye advanced 8.6 percent to 8.50 rand by 5:20 p.m. in Johannesburg, valuing the company at about 6.2 billion rand. - Bloomberg News