Independent mining group Sibanye has appointed three executives following its acquisition of the only platinum-group metals (PGMs) miner in the US, Stillwater Mining, in May, when its organisational structure subsequently repositioned from a divisional commodity structure to a geographical regionalised structure.
“With the significant increase in size and geographical spread of the company, this regionalised organisational structure will provide effective leadership, ensuring appropriate focus and skills allocation in well-defined geographical regions and corporate functions. This focus, coupled with a strong executive presence in clearly understood social and cultural regions, will position Sibanye for continued success,” said Sibanye CEO Neal Froneman in July.
Having been an “integral part of the Sibanye executive team” since joining the company in February 2013, Robert van Niekerk has been appointed Sibanye Southern Africa region executive VP, and has fulfilled various roles within the organisation, including, most recently, that of divisional CEO for platinum.
Van Niekerk has been involved in the mining industry for over 30 years, operating within South Africa and internationally in senior management positions at gold miner Gold Fields and platinum producer Anglo American Platinum. Prior to joining Sibanye, Van Niekerk was Gold Fields senior VP and head of mining.
Froneman noted that Van Niekerk’s recognised leadership and mining experience, especially in the “complex” South African mining environment, would ensure operational success.
On July 3, Sibanye announced the appointment of Chris Bateman as Sibanye US region executive VP. In addition to heading up the region and leading the team at the Stillwater operations, Bateman will also join the Sibanye executive committee.
Froneman believes Bateman’s “extensive industry knowledge and experience” will strengthen the Sibanye executive team and his collaborative leadership style and broad experience at executive level will facilitate the smooth integration of Stillwater into the broader Sibanye group.
Bateman served as Stillwater Mining Company CFO since 2014, before which he worked in the mining industry for more than 18 years, gaining experience in the platinum, palladium, copper, uranium, diamonds and industrial minerals sectors.
Outgoing Stillwater CEO Mick McMullen will transition to the role of technical adviser until end-2018, thereby ensuring management and operational continuity and facilitating the integration of Stillwater into Sibanye. Under McMullen and Bateman’s leadership, Stillwater significantly reduced costs through productivity improvements and positioned itself as a leading global PGMs producer.
With Stillwater enhancing its substantial South African PGMs portfolio, Sibanye is positioned to play a leading role in the international PGMs industry, says the company.
Sibanye also appointed Ken Kluksdahl Sibanye US region CEO. In a July announcement, the company said Kluksdahl, originally from Montana, would play an integral part on the US regional executive board led by Bateman.
Kluksdahl has over 30 years’ experience in operational mining roles at several global mining companies, including gold mining business Homestake Mining, mining group Rio Tinto and, more recently, gold producer AngloGold Ashanti. He served as AngloGold Ashanti North America senior VP of projects between 2010 and 2011 and then as AngloGold Ashanti senior VP of Colombia for six years.
“Ken brings a wealth of knowledge in strategic operational leadership, project management and continuous improvement, and I am confident that he will ensure continued gains in productivity at the Stillwater operations,” says Bateman.
Sibanye in May announced that all the closing conditions to the Stillwater transaction had been satisfied or waived, and that it had successfully concluded the acquisition of the company.
The Sibanye and Stillwater deal is the largest PGMs transaction globally in over a decade, Sibanye noted in an announcement in April.
Stillwater is engaged in the development, extraction and processing of PGMs from a geological formation in south-central Montana recognised as the J-M reef. The reef is the only known significant source of PGMs in the US and the highest-grade PGMs resource known in the world.
In addition, Stillwater is the lowest-cost PGMs producer in the world (on an all-in sustaining cost basis, which includes sustaining capital expenditure requirements). This combination and the fact that Stillwater is the only primary palladium producer in the world make it unique and strategically positions Sibanye as a unique investment case, says Sibanye.
Stillwater produces about 550 000 oz of 2E PGMs yearly (about 78% palladium and 22% platinum) from two operating mines. The company is also developing a low-risk organic growth project, the Blitz project (east of the Stillwater mine), which is expected to add between 270 000 oz and 330 000 oz of 2E PGMs a year by 2021. This is a substantial production increase of over 50%, which is fully funded from internal cash flow, notes Sibanye.
Stillwater also owns the Marathon PGM-copper deposit in Ontario, Canada, and the Altar porphyry copper-gold deposit located in the San Juan province of Argentina.
In addition, Stillwater recycles PGMs from spent catalytic converters and other industrial sources.
The company owns the biggest PGMs recycling business in the world, recycling about 668 000 oz of PGMs in 2016. This business will provide Sibanye with important strategic insights into the secondary PGMs markets, with the “transformative transaction” positioning Sibanye as a global precious metals company with a unique mix of commodities, highlights the company.
Sibanye is now the third-largest producer of palladium (and the only primary producer of palladium) and the third-largest producer of platinum in the world, and also features in the top ten global gold companies.
“We are very pleased to add Stillwater to the Sibanye group, thereby creating a unique, high-quality, global precious metals company. We look forward to integrating Stillwater into Sibanye and are confident that this transaction will realise significant value for Sibanye shareholders and its other stakeholders for many years. We would like to thank our shareholders for their support, as well as the management and employees of both companies, whose efforts enabled us to successfully conclude this significant transaction, which ranks among the biggest mining transactions concluded by a South African company since 2001,” said Froneman.
Sibanye owns and operates gold, uranium and PGMs operations and projects throughout the Witwatersrand basin and the western limb of the Bushveld Complex in South Africa. The company is also a 50% joint venture partner in Mimosa, a PGMs operation in Zimbabwe. Sibanye is the largest individual South African producer of gold, one of the ten largest gold producers globally and the world’s fifth-largest producer of PGMs. Sibanye’s corporate office is located close to Westonaria, in the province of Gauteng, near its West Wits operations.