While platinum bosses in South Africa have warned striking mine workers that shafts and mines will have to close down as a result of over R12.3 billion lost over the past 11 weeks, producers in other sectors are expressing interest in taking over the strike-hit assets.

Most recently, South African based coal producer Exarro has said that it hopes to diversify into platinum group metals, with an eye out for opportunities that could include the platinum assets that Anglo American has earmarked for closure.

Exxaro executive head of strategy Mzila Mthenjane has said that the company has “scouted around in PGMs and think there are some interesting opportunities that are emerging. It’s across the whole board, from existing single assets that are being developed to potentially what could fall out, with some of the restructurings that are being spoken about.”

Earlier this week, bullion producer Sibanye Gold also expressed interest in any platinum assets that may go on sale once the strike is resolved. Sibanye spokesman James Wellsted has said that although nothing specific is currently on the table, Sibanye is open to the idea of buying platinum mines. The company anticipates that some platinum producers may choose to relinquish their mines once the strike has ended.

It appears to be a buyers’ market in the platinum industry, but whether or not the sector will recover from the effects of the strike remains to be seen.

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