BHP and Anglo American look to sell manganese assets in South Africa and Australia

24 July 2014 (Last Updated July 24th, 2014 18:30)

Mining giants BHP Billiton and Anglo American are planning to sell their jointly owned manganese assets, including two mines in South Africa, one in Australia and processing plants in both countries.

Mining giants BHP Billiton and Anglo American are planning to sell their jointly owned manganese assets, including two mines in South Africa, one in Australia and processing plants in both countries.

The manganese property, proposed to be sold, is 60% owned by BHP and 40% by Anglo American.

Macquarie analyst Jeff Largey was cited by Walls Street Journal as saying that Anglo's share is worth $530m, and the value of all the assets could be around $1.33bn.

The metal, which is used as alloy in production of stainless steel, has witnessed a price drop of about 20% since 2011, before recovering recently.

According to the news agency, global manganese market is worth about $3bn and continues to be a specialised business opportunity for major mining companies.

"We continue to actively study the next phase of simplification, including structural options, but we will only pursue options that maximise value."

Both companies have been on a look out to divest some of their non-core assets and focus on their key mines producing iron ore, copper and coal.

In early April, BHP announced that it would divest some of the non-core aluminium, thermal coal, manganese and nickel assets to simplify its portfolio. The assets are estimated to be around $18.5bn.

"We continue to actively study the next phase of simplification, including structural options, but we will only pursue options that maximise value for BHP Billiton shareholders," the company said in a statement earlier this week.

BHP recently sold its Yeelirrie uranium deposit in Western Australia to Cameco for approximately $430m, and its diamond business to Dominion Diamond for around $553m.

Anglo American has also announced earlier this week that it is planning to sell its oldest platinum mines in South Africa.

Anglo American chief executive Mark Cutifani however dismissed the suggestion that it is selling Samancor manganese assets it jointly owned with BHP Billiton, reported Reuters.

Cutifani said he is rather 'too optimistic' on the sale of platinum assets in South Africa by 2015.

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