Royal Bafokeng Platinum begins trading

2010-11-08 09:20

Royal Bafokeng Platinum listed on the main board of the JSE Limited today and began trading in the platinum and precious metals sector.

“Our journey towards this listing has been interesting and sometimes challenging. It began many years ago, towards the end of the 19th century when young Bafokeng men were sent to work on the country’s diamond mines to earn money to buy their own land,” said chief executive officer Steve Phiri in a statement.

Royal Bafokeng Platinum is owned by a community of around 300 000 black South Africans, predominantly Setswana speaking, according to its website.

Its main asset is a 67% stake in a joint venture between itself and Anglo Platinum, the world’s biggest platinum producer.

Its mining operations are based in North West, in the Bushveld Complex which is the richest source of platinum group metals (PGMs) in the world.

The entire issued share capital of the company was listed on the JSE today. The shares were priced at R60.50 a share, raising R2.98 billion. This makes up a stake of 30 percent in the company.

The balance of the shares is held by major shareholders Royal Bafokeng Platinum Holdings (Proprietary) Limited (57%) and Rustenburg Platinum Mines Limited (12%).

The money raised would be used towards bringing phase one of the Styldrift Merensky Project into production.

“RBPlat reaffirms that it is well-positioned to take advantage of current and future opportunities in the PGM sector so as to maximise value for the company,” the company said.

Noah Greenhill, head of marketing and business development at the JSE, said: “As another mining company lists on the JSE, it will hopefully prove once again that there is capital and appetite for mining companies in South Africa.”

In 1866, the head of the Bafokeng, Kgosi August Mokgatle, started buying up the land they occupied historically through the Lutheran Mission Society who held it in trust for the Bafokeng people.

When diamonds were discovered in Kimberley in 1869, Mokgatle sent young men to work on the mines and repatriate their earnings to enable the Bafokeng to buy more land, according to the company website.

A significant portion of land had been purchased by the 1920s. In 1926 substantial reserves of platinum were discovered on their land.

Since democracy, the Royal Bafokeng Nation has had autonomy over its land and signed agreements with major mining companies to use this land in exchange for royalty payments.

These royalties have been used to uplift the community.

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