South Africa Community Confident Over Anglo Platinum Mine Stake

A community near the South African mines operated by Anglo American Platinum Ltd. said it’s optimistic about its prospects to acquire stakes in the operations that the world’s largest producer of the metal seeks to dispose of.

The Bakgatla Ba Kgafela is in talks to become a black economic empowerment partner in the Union and three Rustenburg mines that Amplats, as the Johannesburg-based unit of Anglo American Plc is known, plans to exit, Kgosi Nyalala Pilane, the community’s chief, said by phone Monday.

The group’s interest in the mines follows Amplats’s undertaking that it will decide before Tuesday whether to sell or separately list the mines amid a 42 percent plunge in platinum prices since August 2011. A buyer or separately listed entity will have to be at least 26 percent-owned by a black investor to comply with mine-license conditions, a measure aimed at reducing economic disparities created by apartheid rule.

“It is only prudent that we participate in the process,” Pilane said. “We are confident that we might eventually be the ones” to acquire a stake, he said, declining to comment further on the nature of the talks or with whom they’re speaking to.

Bakgatla Ba Kgafela already owns a 15 percent stake in the Union mine that it acquired in 2006 for 420 million rand ($34 million).

Amplats informed the UASA union during a meeting on June 17 it decided to separately list the assets, Franz Stehring, head of mining at the labor organization, said June 23.

Mpumi Sithole, a spokeswoman for Amplats, didn’t immediately answer calls seeking comment.

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