ARM earmarks R10bn for growth, output to double by 2018/19

31st August 2011 By: Loni Prinsloo

JOHANNESBURG ( − Diversified miner African Rainbow Minerals (ARM) plans to double production in its current commodities portfolio by 2018/19, outgoing CEO Andre Wilkens told Mining Weekly Online on Wednesday.

ARM, which currently has an interest in iron-ore, platinum, coal, chrome, manganese and nickel, had already doubled its production between 2005 and 2010 by investing almost R17-billion in growth projects.

Wilkens said that ARM would continue its aggressive growth strategy and planned to spend R10-billion up to 2014 to ensure its next phase of growth.

“We are talking aggressive growth in the next three to four years, taking our iron-ore production up to 16-million or even 18-million tons, doubling manganese production, doubling platinum production, improving on coal production and ramping up copper.”

Chairperson Patrice Motsepe said that even with talks of nationalisation, the company was committed to its operations in South Africa, adding that he was confident that the country would come out with a dispensation on the issue.

“I believe that the future of the South African mining sector lies in a mixed economy, where mining companies are comparative and able to attract investors, while State-mining companies co-exist and compete with private sector mines,” he commented.

Nevertheless, ARM had diversified its operations into other parts of Africa, such as Zambia and the Democratic Republic of Congo in recent years and signed an agreement with a Mozambican exploration company, Rovuma Resources, to look for manganese, platinum-group metals, nickel and base metals.

Further, Motsepe said that ARM was keeping an eye on Zimbabwe, as it had good ore bodies and he believed that the country would, in time, become investor friendly.

Wilkens noted that certain global opportunities were also being considered.

Meanwhile, ARM declared a R4.50-a-share dividend for its 2011 financial year ended June 30, 2011, amounting to R960-million.

“This dividend represents a 125% increase compared to last year’s dividend of R2 a share and is consistent with ARM’s commitment to return cash to shareholders, while simultaneously maintaining the ability to fund growth of the company in the future,” said financial director Mike Arnold.