Billiton sells Richards Bay Minerals stake

Anglo-Australian mining firm BHP Billiton had completed the sale of its 37 percent stake in Richards Bay Minerals (RBM) to rival Rio Tinto for $1.91 billion (R15.6 brillion), it said on Friday. BHP Billiton said the sale of its share in the South African mineral sands miner and smelting operator “reflects the company’s commitment to a simpler, more scalable upstream portfolio”. Rio Tinto already owned a 37 percent stake in RBM and managed its operations and marketed its products. BHP Billiton triggered the sale in February when it exercised an option to sell its stake as agreed during a 2009 restructuring of RBM. “Doubling our stake in this tier one asset further strengthens Rio Tinto’s titanium dioxide portfolio at a time when the long-term outlook remains robust,” said Alan Davies, Rio Tinto’s chief executive for diamonds and minerals . In 2011, RBM had a 14 percent share in global sales of titanium dioxide feedstock, Rio Tinto said. – Sapa-AFP


Foreign currency, gold reserves jump

South Africa’s gold and foreign currency reserves rose last month to the highest level since March as the metal gained and the dollar fell, boosting the value of holdings in other currencies. Gross reserves grew 1.1 percent to $49.9 billion (R407.6bn) in August, the Reserve Bank said on Friday. The median estimate in a survey of six analysts was for a rise to $49.8bn. Net reserves advanced to $48.3bn from $48bn. “The change in the gross reserves reflects valuation adjustments emanating from the higher US dollar gold price, and the depreciation of the dollar against other major currencies,” the central bank said in a statement. – Bloomberg