Sibanye Gold eyes platinum mines

Johannesburg - Sibanye Gold [JSE:SGL] is considering buying platinum mines, a spokesperson said on Friday.

"I can confirm that we have publicly expressed our interest in potentially acquiring a platinum asset if it is value accretive and supports our strategy," James Wellsted said in a statement.

He said it was premature to say which assets the company was interested in and what value they would contribute to Sibanye.

"We are aware of the problems the platinum sector is having with its labour force, and obviously what is happening concerns everyone in South Africa.

"The gold sector also interacts with the same unions, however, and is not immune to labour disruption, so it is not something we have not had to deal with before or can expect to totally avoid in future," Wellsted said.

Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union members at Impala Platinum (Implats) [JSE:IMP], Anglo American Platinum [JSE:AMS] and Lonmin [JSE:LON] went on strike on January 23 demanding a basic monthly salary of R12 500.

By Friday, the strike had cost the industry R23.4bn in lost earnings, while employees had forfeited wages of R10.4bn, according to a website set up by the companies.

Earlier this month Amcu and Amplats, Implats, and Lonmin reached separate in-principle agreements.

Amcu then submitted written responses to the companies with new demands. The companies said the additional demands would involve extra costs of around R1bn.

On Friday the parties were still in talks to end the strike.

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