Anglo American Platinum (Amplats) announced on July 21 that it is offering for sale its Rustenburg and Union mines and its interest in the Pandora joint venture in South Africa. The company is also considering sale of its interest in the Bokoni joint venture. It will retain its Rustenburg and Union smelting and refining assets.

Amplats CEO Chris Griffith, shown here in a TV interview, said the company has had expressions of interest for the mines being offered, but has no timeline for completion of the sales process.

The Amplats announcement was made in conjunction with release of its results for the first half of 2014 and one month after it reached a settlement to end a five-month mine strike (Anglo Looking to Unload Platinum Mines). The strike cost it about 440,000 oz of equivalent refined production. The mines being offered for sale were among those hit by the strike.

Amplats is the world’s largest producer of primary platinum group metals and accounts for about 40% of the world’s newly mined platinum.

The Amplats announcement stated, “Anglo American Platinum has a number of high-quality assets; however, both management time and capital are finite.

Therefore, the decision has been made to reposition the portfolio to focus on our assets that can deliver higher margins, lower costs and improved return on capital.

“The intention to exit the Union mine and concentrators has already been announced, and it has now been concluded that Rustenburg and our Pandora JV asset will be better placed in the hands of new owners who would be able to provide the focus and capital for the operations to have a successful future.”

Amplats expects to divest these assets in “the most appropriate manner” and to prioritize its capital spending and focus on its Mogalakwena, Unki, Twickenham, and Amandelbult mines, and on its Mototolo, Modikwa, Kroondal, and BRPM joint-venture assets.

The Mogalakwena mine and Twickenham development project in South Africa and the Unki mine in Zimbabwe continued to operate throughout the strike. Mogalakwena is an open-pit operation that draws production from four pits and has a projected mine life of more than 60 years. Production totaled 184,800 oz during the first half of 2014.

Amplats CEO Chris Griffith said, “The dominant feature of the first half was the strike, during which 40% of our production was not in operation. However, we were able to ensure security of supply to our customers throughout the period through a stock drawdown of 300,000 oz, and those operations unaffected by the strike showed stable and improved performances. Since the end of the strike, we have been working to ensure a safe return to work and rebuilding relationships with our employees, and the ramp-up process is proceeding well.”

During a conference call, Griffith said Amplats has had expressions of interest for the mines being offered up for sale and that there is no timeline for completion of the sales process.