Implats may buy Absa's interest in Zimplats9 May 2003


I-Net Bridge 

IMPALA Platinum, the world's second-largest platinum miner, was in talks to buy banking group Absa's 14,84% indirect stake in Zimbabwe Platinum Mines (Zimplats), Zimplats said yesterday. 

Implats chief financial officer David Brown confirmed discussions with Absa on its stake in Zimplats. 

Absa has made it known that it is not interested in a long-term holding in Zimplats. "Increasing Implats' shareholding in Zimplats is our long-term strategy," Brown said. 

Zimplats was an attractive proposition for Implats as it was sitting on large platinum group metal resources and Implats wanted to position itself for long-term access to that ore body, Brown said. 

"We are mindful of the risk in Zimbabwe. However, at the end of the day the long-term resources are in that country. " 

Implats agreed in November not to acquire more than 35% of Zimplats without making an offer to all minority shareholders. Implats and Absa hold just more than 50% in Zimplats through Impala Platinum (Zimbabwe), 70,62% owned by Implats and 29,38% by Absa. 

Zimplats reported first quarter output of 39674 ounces of platinum, palladium, rhodium and gold, up 1% on the previous quarter. 

Zimplats is a platinum development and mining company with 165-million ounces of platinum resources in the Great Dyke of Zimbabwe, making up the majority of the Hartley Geological Complex. 

This is the world's largest known undeveloped, near-surface platinum and palladium resource. 
May 09 2003 06:55:16:000AM Justin Brown Business Day 1st Edition