Associated Press – HELENA, Mont. — A South African gold mining company completed a $2.2 billion purchase of the only U.S. producer of platinum and palladium on Thursday, its third such acquisition in the past year as the company looks to expand its precious metals holdings.
Sibanye Gold Limited’s merger with Littleton, Colorado-based Stillwater Mining Co. on Thursday positions it as the world’s fourth-largest producer of precious metals that include platinum, palladium, rhodium and gold.
The value of platinum and palladium, which are used in vehicles’ catalytic converters and in jewelry, has plunged since a high in 2008. However, Sibanye officials said in documents filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission that they are optimistic about the future of the market, due to the expected growth in worldwide vehicle sales in coming years.
Last year, Sibanye bought Bermuda-based Aquarius Platinum Limited, with mines in South Africa and Zimbabwe, for $294 million and Rustenburg Platinum Mines in South Africa for $326 million.
The acquisition of Stillwater, which operates a mining complex in Montana whose third mine is scheduled to start producing next year, will be a huge boost to Sibanye’s platinum and palladium production. The purchase “will create in Sibanye a globally competitive South African mining champion with a unique commodity mix,” CEO Neal Froneman in a statement.
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