Sibanye Gold eager to expand into platinum

The mining company says it would suit its strategic goal of being a premium dividend player.

The gold mining company has publicly expressed interest in acquiring platinum mines but says it will be premature to say which ones it’s interested in and what value they would contribute to its growth. Picture: AFP.

JOHANNESBURG - Sibanye Gold says acquiring platinum mines would suit its strategic goal of being a premium dividend player.

Around 70,000 Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) members at three of the world's largest platinum mines have downed tools for over five months for a R12,500 wage demand.

The strike has cost the industry R23.4 billion in lost earnings.

Plummeting investor confidence has been mentioned by ratings agency Standard & Poor's as one of the reasons South Africa's credit rating was downgraded.

Spokesperson for Sibanye Gold James Wellsted says the company is aware of the labour unrest in the North West platinum belt but it's still interested in buying platinum mines.

"We've shown interest and we've said that we are interested in acquiring any potential assets that may come to market but I think some of the platinum producers are still waiting for the agreement with Amcu to be concluded before they decide on what they're going to do."

Meanwhile, platinum producers were still negotiating a wage settlement on Friday and a decision is expected on Monday.

Trade union Solidarity says it expects up to 10,000 workers to be affected by downsizing and restructuring on the platinum belt once Amcu's wage strike comes to an end.

The union says given that the companies have lost more than R20 billion, some shafts are likely to resume production.

Watch: Platinum strike: End in sight?