JOHANNESBURG, May 11 (Reuters) - South Africa’s Baroka Platinum will offer up to 1.8 billion rand ($150 million) for Atlatsa Resources’ stake in the joint venture Bokoni mine, a source with direct knowledge of the matter said Monday.
Toronto-based Atlatsa owns 51 percent of the mine and the rest is in the hands of Anglo American Platinum, which has already said it plans to sell its stake in the mine that produced 170,000 tonnes of platinum group metals last year.
Baroka Platinum, part of the Baroka Tribal Mining business founded to help the impoverished Ga-Nkwana community, has already offered 3 billion rand for Amplats’ stake in the mine, documents seen by Reuters in February showed.
Amplats’ stake in the four-shaft mine includes 1.7 billion rand loaned to Atlatsa by the Anglo American unit.
Baroka Platinum aims to take advantage of a sector shake-up as producers sell off underperforming and labour-intensive shafts to improve profitability after last year’s record five-month miners’ strike.
Atlatsa spokeswoman Prudence Lebina said the company has not received any offer for the stake in the Bokoni mine, which is the firm’s only operating asset.
The proposed deal would give Baroka Platinum, which currently relies on royalty payments, its first production asset and allow it to funnel more money from the Bokoni mine to fulfill its stated mandate of building schools, clinics and roads for the Ga-Nkwana community’s 90,000 people.
The community is located in the north-eastern part of South Africa in the Limpopo province.
Separately, Gankwana community members briefly blocked a road leading to Bokoni mine with burning tyres and rocks on Monday, preventing workers from reporting for work and prompting Atlatsa to halt production, Lebina said.
It was unclear what the community was protesting against but Lebina said Atlatsa was planning to meet with local leaders to get to the bottom of what caused the protest.
Shares in Atlatsa, which have plunged more than 60 percent over the past twelve months, were little changed at 1.50 rand in Johannesburg, valuing the company at 844 million rand.
Including debt, Atlatsa is valued at nearly 5 billion rand, Thomson Reuters data shows. (Editing by James Macharia)