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Glencore mulls bid for Impala’s chrome waste operations

Jan 31 2017 18:58
Loni Prinsloo and Kevin Crowley, Bloomberg News

Johannesburg - Glencore, the mining and trading firm run by billionaire Ivan Glasenberg, is considering bidding for Impala Platinum’s 65% stake in a chrome waste-retreatment operation in South Africa, two people familiar with the matter said.

Glencore already has an agreement to buy metal from Chrome Traders Processing (Pty) Ltd., the closely held company that owns 30% of the business controlled by Impala. Glencore, which has chrome assets nearby, is bullish on prices and keen to grow its presence in the industry that supplies stainless steelmakers with the ingredient that prevents corrosion, said one of the people, who asked not to be identified because the information is private.

The operation produces more than 200 000 metric tons of chrome concentrate a year from tailings, or waste material from platinum mining, near the northern South African town of Rustenburg. It made a profit of R67m ($5m) in the year through June 30. Impala sees the operation as a non-core asset and wants to focus on its platinum mines, the Johannesburg-based miner said earlier this month. Platinum is found together with chrome in many of the ore bodies mined in South Africa.

Bidders welcomed

“It’s early in the process still and we entirely welcome all interested parties,” Impala spokesman Johan Theron said by phone, declining to comment on Glencore specifically. “We’re confident we can realize value for shareholders.”

Standard Bank Group is running the sales process and is drawing up a shortlist of suitable bidders, the other person said. Standard Bank declined to comment.

Glencore owns five chrome smelters and seven chrome mines in South Africa, including the Waterval chrome mine and Wonderkop ferrochrome plant. The partnership that Glencore has with Merafe Resources makes it the world’s largest ferrochrome producer.

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glencore  |  mining

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