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First Uranium says advisers flogged assets to 20 firms

08 May 2012
JOHANNESBURG ( – First Uranium, under fire from shareholders accusing it of selling its core assets too cheaply, contacted some 20 potential buyers between September and January, the TSX- and JSE-listed company said on Tuesday.

Only three of these, including Gold One and AngloGold Ashanti, signed confidentiality agreements and did due diligence, it added.

AngloGold told First Uranium it would not make an offer for the entire company in December, the cash-strapped miner said in a statement.

First Uranium embarked on a strategic review in July last year, and in February warned the market the outcome could include the sale of its two principal assets, the Ezulwini gold and uranium mine west of Johannesburg and the Mine Waste Solutions (MWS) business, which reprocesses mine dumps to extract gold and uranium.

In early March, the company announced it had agreed to sell the Ezulwini mine to Chinese-owned Gold one and MWS to Africa’s biggest gold miner, AngloGold Ashanti, for $335-million.

A group of shareholders, including Russia’s Olma Investments, Canada’s Sprott Asset Management and Stratton Enterprises, as well as a grouping of Canadian minority holders, have threatened to vote against the sales at a general meeting on June 13.

Olma head of equities Nick Betsky earlier this week told Mining Weekly Online that he was trying to rope in a company to buy 50% of First Uranium and loan it the $150-million it needs to repay debentures that fall due on June 30.