Sibanye Gold announced in early October a $294 million cash offer for Aquarius Platinum, following up on an agreement announced a month earlier to acquire the Rustenburg mining operations of Anglo American Platinum (Amplats) on the Western Limb of South Africa’s Bushveld Complex (E&MJ, October 2015, p. 5).
Aquarius owns 50% stakes in the Kroondal mine and the Platinum Mile tailings retreatment facilities, which are adjacent to the Amplats Rustenburg mines, and in the Mimosa joint venture in Zimbabwe. Amplats is Aquarius partner at Kroondal and Platinum Mile. Impala Platinum is its partner at Mimosa.
Sibanye is an independent, South African-domiciled mining group that currently owns and operates four underground and surface gold operations: the Cooke, Driefontein, and Kloof operations in the West Witwatersrand region, and the Beatrix operation in southern Free State province. If the Aquarius and Rustenburg acquisitions are both carried through to successful conclusions, Sibanye will become a substantial producer of platinum group metals (platinum, palladium and rhodium, plus gold).
Production attributable to Sibanye will be about 220,000 oz/y from Kroondal and 120,000 oz/y from Mimosa. Production from the Amplats Rustenburg mines will total about 800,000 oz/y.
The Kroondal mine exploits the UG2 reef via five operating decline shafts to depths of up to 700 m. Two concentrator plants, K1 and K2, have a combined monthly processing capacity of 570,000 mt. The Mimosa mine is a relatively shallow underground operation, with mining depths to approximately 200 m below surface. The Mimosa concentrator has a monthly processing capacity of 185,000 mt.