Anglo puts State back into steel, competitive bid for Ezulwini, CoAL beating odds at Vele
Diversified miner Anglo American has put the State back into steelmaking by selling integrated producer Scaw to an investment consortium led by South Africa’s Industrial Development Corporation (IDC). Read on Page 7 of this edition of Mining Weekly of the State-owned IDC bid including Sipho Pityana’s Izingwe Holdings, CyrilRamaphosa’s Shanduka Resources and the Southern Palace black economically empowered (BEE) companies. South Africa’s Department of Trade and Industry has for long hankered for a developmental steel price, which JSE-listed ArcelorMittal was meant to deliver in return for the sweetheart deal afforded it by Kumba Iron Ore. But that was not forthcoming, resulting in Anglo American CEO Cynthia Carroll making the point, in announcing the R3.4-billion ($440-million) Scaw transaction, that the IDC-led acquisition contributed positively to the South African government’s industrial development objectives. Enabling the IDC to play a role in steel is seen as being strategically crucial. In addition, IDC CEO Geoff Qhena regards Scaw as being well positioned to take advantage of the mining industry’s long-term growth trends, while also benefiting from railway and power generation business, and Pityana views the transaction as a platform for BEEs to make an entry into a going manufacturing concern.
Battered and bruised TSX- and JSE-listed gold and uranium miner First Uranium is about to face Canadian minority shareholder resistance over its West Rand disposals. As First Uranium was confirming in Johannesburg that it had received a competing bid from a group that includes Russia’s Renova, the Ezulwini sale to Gold One and the Mine Waste Solutions sale to AngloGold Ashanti were evoking howls of protest in Toronto. Minorities are unhappy with what they see as heavily discounted deals. The Renova-linked bid is seen as representing a better deal for them. Read on page 10 of this edition of Mining Weekly of part of the Gold One deal involving a $10-million advance loan, which it needs to stay afloat. This contrasts, the company said, with the Renova offer being subject to a number of conditions, including a 90-day due diligence process.
Beating all the odds, emerging miner Coal of Africa Limited (CoAL) continues to move ahead at Vele, which is being built close to the Mapungubwe National Park, a Unesco World Heritage site in Limpopo province. CoAL has always said that visitors to the park’s sandstone Mapungubwe hill, which was once the citadel of the Iron Age people, some 30 km away, will not see or hear the mine. Also, the opencast mine will also be rehabilitated as mining takes place, which has convinced many that Vele can be a win-win for South Africa. Last week, another mine milestone was reached when CoAL took delivery of the coal washing plant at its Vele colliery, in Limpopo. Read on page 17 of this edition of Mining Weekly of the plant’s design breaking new environmentally sensitive ground. Care was reportedly taken during the construction phase to protect endangered trees and vegetation and 1 500 t of thermal caol has already been railed to Mozambique for export from the port of Maputo.
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