Sibanye-Stillwater in talks with AngloGold over deal for Mponeng gold mine

Sibanye-Stillwater is having discussions with AngloGold Ashanti over the potential acquisition of the world’s deepest gold mine, with the latter planning to leave the South African mining sector.

A Sibanye spokesperson confirmed the talks on Thursday, following an announcement by Anglo in May that it would review divestment options for the Mponeng mine along with its other South African assets.

“We have said we are open minded to the opportunity,” said Sibanye chief executive Neal Froneman “We are not panting after more deep-level gold mines but there are significant synergies and opportunities between Driefontein and Mponeng.”

The escalating costs associated with operating some of the deepest gold mines in the world in South Africa have compelled Anglo to focus on higher returns elsewhere on the African continent.

Meanwhile, Sibanye has diversified into platinum group metals (PGMs) in South Africa and beyond, although the company fell into the red in the first half of 2019 as a five-month strike at its South African gold operations took its toll on profits.

The workers strike over pay and job cuts ended in April and cost Sibanye more than US$100 million in lost revenue, while also hitting gold output. However, Froneman said that a supportive gold price and positive operational outlook would strengthen earnings in the second half.