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Talks on platinum merger

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Johannesburg, South Africa — MININGREVIEW.COM — 15 September 2008 – Impala Platinum Holdings Limited – the world’s second-biggest platinum producer – is reported to be in talks with Mvelaphanda Resources Limited and Northam Platinum Holdings Limited on the creation of what is described as “a platinum champion.”
The reported talks come after Swiss-based Xstrata plc made a hostile (US$10 billion) (R75 billion) bid last month for Lonmin plc, the world’s third-biggest platinum producer. Meanwhile Aquarius Platinum Limited – which mines in South Africa and Zimbabwe – told Bloomberg that it was studying consolidation.

The news agency quoted David Shapiro, who helps manage US$2 billion (R15 billion) at Johannesburg-based Sasfin Holdings Limited, as saying that this may be the start of consolidation.

“The companies have received approaches from interested parties which may result in an offer or offers to acquire the entire issued share capital of Mvela Resources and Northam,” Mvela said in a statement, without revealing who the approaches were from.

While Northam would add only about 10% to Impala’s annual production of just under 2 million ounces, its Booysendal project would boost Impala’s resources of platinum group metals by about 100 million ounces,” Vestact fund manager Paul Theron said in an interview with Bloomberg. “That would really put the combined entity forward as a major global player,” he contended.