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JIOHANNESBURG (Capital Markets in Africa) – Glencore Plc, the mining and trading firm run by billionaire Ivan Glasenberg, is considering bidding for Impala Platinum Holdings Ltd.’s 65 percent 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 percent 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 67 million rand ($5 million) 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 minersaid earlier this month. Platinum is found together with chrome in many of the ore bodies mined in South Africa.
“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 Ltd. is running the sales process and is drawing up a shortlist of suitable bidders, the other person said. Standard Bank declined to comment.
Glencore’s chrome assets in South Africa include the Waterval mine, the Wonderkop ferrochrome plant and the Helena mine.