Metorex gets nod of approval
Spanish fluorspar company forks out R100m
SA MINING GROUP Metorex received a R100m vote of confidence from Spanish shareholders Minerales Y Productos Derivados last week.
The 5m shares bought by the Spanish group represent just over 1,6% of Metorex’s issued share capital. Minerales Y Productos Derivados is the largest producer and consumer of fluorspar in Europe.
The Spanish group’s interests are represented on Metorex’s board by Alberto Barrenechea, who advises the SA company on plant upgrades and the general metallurgical process of Metorex’s fluorspar mine, Vergenoeg.
In the six months to December, fluorspar accounted for 15% of Metorex’s revenue with the balance coming from copper, gold and antimony. Demand for fluorspar has shown continued growth over the past year, sharply underpinning an improved performance at Metorex and Sallies, another of SA’s fluorspar miners.
Last year, retail kingpin Christo Wiese added fluorspar to his portfolio of private investments when he underwrote a rights offer at Sallies and purchased the larger part of FRM Strategies’ stake in the mining minnow.
Fluorspar is a key ingredient in the juggernaut of modern industry.
Acid grade fluorspar is used in the production of hydrofluoric acid that’s used in a variety of processes including the purification of aluminium as well as the synthesis of fluorine compounds like Teflon and refrigerants.
Metallurgical grade fluorspar is used primarily as flux in steelmaking to lower the melting point and remove impurities. It’s also used as a flux in the production of cement.
Ceramic grade fluorspar is used in the glass, fibreglass and ceramic industries, as well as in the manufacture of magnesium and calcium and welding rod coatings.
Also interesting last week was the disclosure note from Nedbank saying that options accruing to certain directors, including CEO Tom Boardman, would be lapsing. The banking group said the share options were linked to the group’s achievement of predetermined financial targets, which have not been met.
Boardman is in good company, joining an exclusive club of directors – including directors of Old Mutual and Anglo American – who have failed to meet the demanding “stretching” targets set by the remuneration committees of their respective companies.
Shareholders will no doubt be pleased to see that these are real targets demanding commitment and hard work, rather than a form of disguised income so typical of SA’s corporate history.