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Aquarius Reaches 6-Month High on Metal Pinch: Johannesburg Mover

Aquarius Platinum Ltd. rose to a six-month high in Johannesburg trading amid speculation that South African supply of the metal will be lower during the first quarter and after it sold assets in Zimbabwe.

Shares of the fourth-largest platinum miner climbed as much as 13 percent to 8.35 rand, the highest since June. The stock had slumped to a low of 4.55 rand during labor strikes in South Africa last year. Platinum prices gained 1.4 percent in London.

“The full impact of the Amplats strike will be felt in Q1 2013” Nomura analysts led by Tyler Broda wrote in a note, referring to Anglo American Platinum Ltd., the biggest producer of the metal.

Aquarius shut most of its mines in 2012 as cost increases outpaced price gains, while labor strikes and wage demands spread from platinum mines to resource industries across South Africa.

The company last month announced it will sell 51 percent of its Zimbabwe mining venture for $550 million to meet demands that foreign and white-owned companies with more than $500,000 of assets cede a majority to local black people.

The miner is an equal partner in Mimosa Investment Holdings with Impala Platinum Holdings Ltd. Mimosa will provide a 10-year loan to fund the deal, which the parties aim to conclude by March 31, Aquarius said.

“Good news recently with the Mimosa JV,” Broda said in an e-mail. “Shares were also at a very austere price after Stuart left.”

Former Chief Executive Officer Stuart Murray quit the Perth, Australia-based company in October. Jean Nel, previously a commercial director at Aquarius, was named CEO on Nov. 5.

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